Other States

FIR lodged against former Assam NRC Coordinator

The NGO whose July 2009 petition in the Supreme Court led to the exercise of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam has filed a police complaint against former NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela.

In its first information report with the Additional Director-General of Police of the Criminal Investigation Department on June 21, the Assam Public Works (APW) said Mr. Hajela manipulated the family tree verification during the NRC updating exercise.

He did this in collaboration with some officers of migrant background, data entry operators, a few minority leaders, and some ‘anti-national elements’, APW’s Aabhijeet Sharma said in the FIR.

Referring to an affidavit filed by Mr. Hajela’s successor Hitesh Dev Sarma in the Supreme Court and Gauhati High Court, the APW said the NRC list had many anomalies and the names of many illegal and doubtful persons were included.

The draft NRC published in August 2019 had left out the names of 19.06 lakh of some 3.3 crore applicants.

The inclusion of a very high percentage of illegal and doubtful persons’ names in the NRC pointed to manipulations in the family tree verification, the APW said.

“We suspect that Prateek Hajela and his close associates in collaboration with some officers of migrant background, data entry operators, some minority leaders and some anti-national elements used the government mechanism to insert the names of the illegal migrants in the updated NRC,” it said in the FIR.

Mr. Sharma said the family tree verification would have been fool-proof had it been done properly. Under such verification, all the offspring of a legacy person (a pre-1971 resident with whom the citizenship link is sought to be established) were asked to submit their family details that were analysed digitally.

The family tree verification did not work properly as most NRC officials working in immigrant-dominated areas belonged to the immigrant community whose citizenship was never verified, the APW said.

“The present NRC State Coordinator’s affidavits point to wrong uploading of results of family tree matching in 40% of the cases. This cannot be treated as normal human error; this was well planned and well-coordinated for including undeserving persons’ names in the NRC,” Mr. Sharma said, arguing why a case had to be registered against Mr. Hajela.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 9:48:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/fir-lodged-against-former-assam-nrc-coordinator/article34921520.ece

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