Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the State should be done afresh.
He also said the exercise conducted over five years earlier should be reviewed for errors.
The NRC for Assam was first published in 1951. The process to update it under the supervision of the Supreme Court began in October 2013 with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for detecting “foreigners”. The updated list of citizens published in August 2019 had excluded 19.06 lakh people out of 3.3 crore applicants.
The cut-off date was based on the Assam Accord of 1985 that ended a six-year agitation for deporting non-citizens. The agitation was spearheaded by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).
“We want the NRC to be done again and we are discussing with the AASU and organisations for this,” Mr. Sarma told journalists after attending a youth programme.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam had found fault with the updated NRC draft, alleging that the names of many “illegal migrants” had been included. The party had accordingly approached the Supreme Court with a plea for re-verification of 20% of the names in districts bordering Bangladesh and 10% in the remaining districts.
The BJP had welcomed the partial draft NRC released in July 2018 that excluded more than 40 lakh people. The party opposed the complete draft published more than a year later, as the list of rejects reportedly had more Hindus than Muslims.
A few days ago, the Assam government said it would approach the apex court for directing the Centre to provide Aadhaar cards to 27 lakh people whose biometrics had been collected during the claims and objections phase of the NRC. The release of the complete draft followed this phase.
The 19.06 lakh people who were left out of the NRC were among the 27 lakh.