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APW moves SC for 100% reverification of NRC process in Assam

A man checks for names of his family members in the final list of the NRC in a NRC centre in Morigaon district, Assam on 31 August 2019.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

The Assam Public Works (APW), an NGO whose petition had led to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam, has moved the Supreme Court for a 100% reverification of the entire process and a probe by a judicial committee to detect the discrepancies involved in updating the citizens’ register.

In a fresh affidavit filed in the apex court on Monday, the APW alleged that the NRC, which was published on August 31, 2019, left out the names of indigenous persons but included many illegal foreigners.

The final NRC list had the names of four Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh “jihadis”, who were arrested from Barpeta district, the affidavit said.

The arrested “jihadis”, whose names figured in the NRC, were Azharuddin, Ranjit Ali, Luit Jamiul Jamal and Muqaddir Islam, it added.

Earlier, a petition filed by the NGO in the Supreme Court had led to the NRC being updated in the northeastern State.

In the fresh affidavit, the APW also urged that agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) be allowed to probe the alleged misappropriation of funds and irregularities in updating the citizens’ register by former NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela.

It also alleged that Mr. Hajela and the software companies engaged in updating the NRC indulged in corruption and malpractices, which made it a “useless document for the people of Assam”.

The APW had filed a complaint against Mr. Hajela with the State police on February 12 for allegedly tampering with the final NRC list, disobeying the orders and directions of the Supreme Court, making a false document, causing forgery of the public register and committing offences under cyber laws by altering or changing public records, misusing his powers and positions.

The NGO had also filed a complaint against Mr. Hajela with the anti-corruption branch of the CBI on November 28 last year, alleging misappropriation of funds during the NRC process.

The Supreme Court had ordered Mr. Hajela’s transfer from Assam to his home State Madhya Pradesh and he was released from the charge of the NRC State Coordinator on November 11 last year.

“In the latest affidavit, we have requested that the validity of the NRC should not be considered till the final settlement of the two cases pending before a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court. The NRC exercise should be halted for the time being and a 100% re-verification of the entire process should be done,” APW president Aabhijeet Sarma said.

The two cases filed in the apex court challenge the constitutional validity of Section 6A, inserted by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985 to reflect the special provisions granting citizenship to those covered by the Assam Accord.

Mr. Sarma claimed that the APW had a lot of information regarding the malpractices and was eager to submit those to various probe agencies as and when it was required. “We want the matter to be investigated by high-level agencies under the supervision of the Union Home Ministry,” he said.

According to APW estimations, around 80 lakh illegal foreigners were included in the final NRC list, he said. Moreover, the names of more than 19 lakh people have been left out of the document.

Mr. Sarma said vast areas of agricultural land in the State were being transformed overnight into populated villages, especially in the Barkhetri Assembly constituency in Nalbari district.

The situation was worsening as the district authority was not in a position to take the required steps to control the sudden rush of people, he added.

The situation was similar at Sipajhar in Darrang district, where 182 bighas of agricultural land were converted into newly-constructed villages, he said.

The APW would continue to raise the issue till all discrepancies regarding the NRC were settled and all those who made money through corrupt practices were punished, Mr. Sarma added.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 4:24:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/apw-moves-sc-for-100-reverification-of-nrc-process-in-assam/article30862326.ece

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