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Assam NRC: Tarun Gogoi wonders how excluded people could move Foreigners Tribunal

Tarun Gogoi. File

Tarun Gogoi. File  

Tarun Gogoi calls for setting up an appellate body headed by a retired SC judge to hear the cases of those excluded in the NRC as they have not been declared foreigners

Senior Congres leader of Assam Tarun Gogoi on September 1 asked how the government asked the 19.07 lakh people left out of the final NRC list to move the Foreigners Tribunals for inclusion of their names as they have not been declared foreigners.

After 19.07 lakh people did not find their names in the final National Register of Citizens published on August 31, the Assam government asked them to appeal to the Foreigners Tribunals and said the administration would provide legal support to the Indian citizens who were left out.

 

In places of the Foreigners Tribunals, Mr. Gogoi called for setting up an appellate body headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to hear the cases of those excluded in the NRC.

State Congress president Ripun Bora said those left out can move the Foreigners Tribunal in 120 days but the Centre must clarify from who will issue the speaking order in this case and from when the period of 120 days would start.

“Foreigners Tribunals are for declaring people foreigners and they would make appeals there. So why should the excluded people go to the Foreigners Tribunals on their own? They have not been declared foreigners by the government,” Mr. Gogoi told a press conference.

Mr. Gogoi was the Chief Minister of Assam when the NRC updation process began in the State in 2015.

He referred to the announcement of the government that those excluded from the NRC list will be able to move the Foreigners Tribunal to get themelves included, and as long as one’s plea remains sub-judice, the person cannot be treated as a foreigner.

'Will be a long-drawn process'

“It’s going to be harassment for the people. It will be a long-drawn process, moving from one court to another, to get themselves included in the NRC. If they are not satisfied with the Tribunal’s verdict, they have to go to the high court and then the Supreme Court,” the Congress leader said.

 

To avoid this lengthy process, he demanded that the Centre set up an appellate authority for hearing the applications of the people excluded from the NRC which validates bona fide Indian citizens of Assam.

“The appellate has to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge for giving justice to the people,” he said.

The former Chief Minister described the NRC as a “waste paper” and said it was so since the complete draft was published in June 2018 leaving out 40 lakh people.

He accused the ruling BJP at the Centre and the State of not wanting to solve the illegal foreigners issue in Assam, saying the party would become issue-less in that case.

They are giving protection to foreigners, he alleged.

'BJP failed to prepare error-free NRC'

“During his 2014 election campaign, Narendra Modi had accused me of laying the red carpet to illegal foreigners in Assam. Now, the BJP is in power and failed to uphold their responsibility of preparing an error-free NRC,” he said.

 

Claiming that the BJP has no clear view on the NRC, the Congress leader said neither Union Home Minister Amit Shah nor Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the NRC is erroneous, while the BJP Assm unit president Ranjit Dass said the party does not accept it.

Mr. Gogoi also accused two-term Chief Minister and Asom Gana Parishad leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta of “failing” to get the NRC updated during his tenures after leading the anti- foreigners movement for six years that “saw 855 people including many Congress workers killed”.

APCC president Ripun Bora said as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court which monitored the NRC updating process, the excluded people can appeal to the Foreigners Tribunals within 120 days.

“The government has not clarified which authority will issue the NRC speaking order or from which day. We demand that the government set the date from receipt of the speaking order and the period for giving the verdict be time-bound to avoid harassment of people,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 1:59:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/assam-nrc-tarun-gogoi-wonders-how-excluded-people-could-move-foreigners-tribunal/article29315975.ece

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