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New Assam NRC Coordinator appointed

Residents check the complete names of the family members in National Register of Citizenship (NRC) in Guwahati. File Photo

Residents check the complete names of the family members in National Register of Citizenship (NRC) in Guwahati. File Photo | Photo Credit: PTI

Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) will have a new State Coordinator from August 1.

IAS officer Partha Pratim Mazumdar will replace incumbent Hitesh Dev Sarma, who retires on July 31, as the third State Coordinator for NRC. The first was bureaucrat Prateek Hajela.

A notification issued by Jadav Saikia, Secretary to the Personnel Department, said Mr. Mazumdar would be transferred as a Secretary to the Home and Political Department as well as the State Coordinator for the NRC and the in-charge of the NRC Directorate. He is currently posted as the Registrar of Cooperative Societies and Secretary to the Women and Child Welfare Department.

The Supreme Court-monitored NRC exercise, aimed at weeding out “illegal immigrants” from Assam, has been in limbo since the complete draft list of citizens was published on August 31, 2019. Some 19.06 lakh people out of 3.3 crore applicants were excluded from the list based on doubts about their citizenship.

The Supreme Court transferred Mr. Hajela to his home State Madhya Pradesh less than three months after the complete draft NRC was published, apparently because the BJP-led Assam government found the list of citizens faulty and sought re-verification of 10-20% of the names in all the districts.

Mr. Sarma took over from Mr. Hajela a month after he left Assam in November 2019.

In May, Mr. Sarma filed a police case against his predecessor alleging treason for intentionally allowing irregularities in preparing the list. Mr. Hajela was also accused of misappropriating funds provided for the NRC exercise.

According to Mr. Sarma, his predecessor knowingly disobeyed law, wilfully avoided proper quality checks in the process of updating the NRC and allowed declared foreigners, doubtful voters and their descendants to enlist their names.

Assam’s BJP-led government has approached the Supreme Court seeking a review of the updated but “incorrect” NRC. Some local groups and organisations in the State have also rejected the list and approached the top court seeking review.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2022 3:42:15 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-national-register-of-citizens-gets-new-coordinator/article65697630.ece