The All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) has claimed that certain organisations used “false” objections against many people from religious and linguistic minority communities included in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The complete draft published in July, 2018 had excluded 40.07 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants. A window ending December 31, 2018 was provided for those left to file claims for re-inclusion. Citizens who suspected foreigners got into the list were also allowed to file objections within the same period.
“Religious as well as linguistic minority people are being harassed in the name of NRC. Members of some organisations such as the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) took signatures of villagers on blank forms and then filed objections in their names against the inclusion of people from minority communities in the complete NRC draft,” AAMSU advisor Azizur Rahman said on Saturday evening.
The villagers in whose names the objections were made later said they had no idea how they came to be embroiled in the case, Mr. Rahman said.
The AAMSU produced a few letters by local farmers and daily-wagers to the District Registrar of Citizen officer in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district.
One such letter by a farmer named Chittaranjan Narzary of Bhalukjhora village, seeking withdrawal of objection against 10 people, said some boys from the local ABSU office came to his house and forced him to sign 10 forms along with the copies of his voter ID. “Now, I have come to know that the said ABSU boys had used my signature to submit objection on a bonafide citizen of India in our locality,” it said.
Letters by labourers Bijoy Narzary and Durjoy Gayary had a similar plea.
ABSU advisor Promod Boro said the allegations were baseless and the letters could be fabricated. “The ABSU cannot force any Bodo as they are not our enemy nor are Muslims and Bengali people who are genuine citizens of the country.”
An ABSU leader also doubted the applications since they were drafted in English and read almost the same.
Kokrajhar Deputy Commissioner Partha Pratim Majumdar, however, said he had received a couple of letters indicating some villagers were forced to sign on objection forms.
“The issue can be settled during the hearing for objections from May 6. As per rules, the officer at the NRC hearing centre concerned can drop an objection if someone signed the form involuntarily as alleged,” he told The Hindu from Kokrajhar, about 225 km west of Guwahati.
The NRC authorities said about 2.5 lakh objections had been filed on December 31, 2018, the last day of filing claims and objections. That, the AAMSU leaders said, was questionable.