More than 19 lakh people in Assam were excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list, published on August 31, 2019. The NRC is till date the biggest drive to verify citizenship in India. A total of 3.29 crore people had applied for the NRC of which 3.11 crore made it to the final list.
NRC is aimed to identifying illegal immigrants who entered and settled in Assam, primarily from Bangladesh, after March 25, 1971 and deport them to their native country.
On June 30, 2018, the second draft of NRC was published where 40 lakh people were left out.
NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela said a total of 3, 11, 21,004 people have been found eligible for inclusion in the final version of the NRC. He also said those not satisfied with outcome can file appeal before Foreigners’ Tribunals.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) expressed unhappiness with the number of people excluded from the NRC final list. They had decided to challenge the findings of the NRC in Supreme Court, which had monitored the exercise. The students’ body which spearheaded the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation four decades ago first demanded an update NRC in 1980. It was a signatory to the agitation- ending Assam Accord of August 1985 the sought “detection, deletion (from voters’ list) and deportation” of illegal migrants from the State.
“We are not happy at all. It seems there were some deficiencies in the updating process. We believe that it is an incomplete NRC. We will appeal to the Supreme Court to remove all the faults and discrepancies in this NRC,” said AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi.
On the other hand, Assam Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convener said the final version of the NRC did not contain names of many person coming to India from Bangladesh before 1971, the cut off period. Sarma alleged that the legacy data were manipulated to include names of doubtful persons as alleged by many.
He further said that the Supreme Court should allow at least 20 per cent re-verification of the names in border districts and 10 per cent in the rest of Assam as requested by the state and central governments earlier. “I reiterate that as requested by Central and state governments at least 20 % re-verification(bordering districts) and 10 % re-verification (remaining districts) should be allowed by Honorable Apex court for a correct and fair NRC,”.
Shankar Roy, 45, a resident of Dibrugarh could not find his family members name in the NRC list and he went to Seva Kendra on August 31, to find out his name, but the result is same, three of his family members’ names were not included in the final list.
“I am unhappy with the NRC process because my name, my mother name and my daughter name was not included in the final list. We have submitted the documents including the Aadhar card. I have gone for the hearings but still our names were not published. I don’t know what goes wrong. I have submitted all the documents which they wanted. They officials at NRC Seva Kendra told me to submit the documents at foreigners’ tribunal,” Shankar said.
He added, “I don’t know the reason behind my families’ exclusion from the NRC list. I went to the Seva Kendra and asked what is the reason behind the exclusion of my family’s name, they cannot say anything which is very disappointing,”.
Similarly, many people in Dibrugarh were dissatisfied with the NRC process because many of them found their names missing from the final list.
Another youth from Dibrugarh, Abhijit Shil found that he and his mother’s name are missing from the final list. “Our name were published on December 31, 2017, the first draft but today when I checked it I found my name and my mother’s name missing from the list. I don’t know the reason behind the exclusion of our name.” He said that they were surprised to see their names missing from the final list.
“Somebody complained against us and we were called for hearings and we went and again submitted the required document but still our names didn’t figured out in the list which is quite surprising,”. He said that during the hearing process they went to the NRC Seva Kendra but the person who complained against them didn’t appear during the hearing.
“We are harassing in the name of NRC. After providing all the documents which were necessary to proving Indian citizen, why then we genuine citizen are facing harassment,”.
Chandan Mazumder, a resident of Dibrugarh and a member of All India Legal Aid Foundation lodged an FIR against NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela at Dibrugarh police station on September 4, 2019. A case U/S -120(B), 166/167 IPC was registered at Dibrugarh police station.
Mazumder said that he have submitted all the documents including his family 1951 NRC. “I am a bonafide citizen and my parents settled in Dibrugarh in 1947 but still my name was excluded from the NRC final list. I am very much disappointed with the NRC and after applying with all the documents why my name was not included in the final list,” Mazumder said.
Mazumder added, “Due to employees’ inefficiency and conspiracy many genuine Indian names were excluded from the list. I went for hearing at Chabua and after submitting all the documents the officials assured me that my name will be included in the final NRC but still my name excluded after producing all the valid documents,”.