The complete draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) has proved to be a great leveller, as it excluded people across the social spectrum — from daily-wagers and marginal farmers to soldiers and MLAs.
Among the 40,07,707 people dropped from the list allegedly for lack of proper documents were former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed’s nephew Ziauddin Ali Ahmed and his family.
“It seems being related to a former President of India is no guarantee for inclusion in NRC. But we are a bit worried because the name of my father (Ekramuddin Ali Ahmed) is not in the legacy data,” Mr. Ahmed said from Rangiya, about 50 km from Guwahati.
Mr. Ahmed is in good company. Omar Saaduddin Ahmed, great-grandson of Bahadur Gaonburah — a legendary figure in eastern Assam’s Jorhat who participated in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 and was sent to the Andaman Cellular Jail.
“I don’t know how to react,” said Mr. Omar Ahmed, who retired as the vice-principal of a local college years ago, on finding that his name was missing from the NRC.
Political parties such as All India United Democratic Front have attributed the exclusion of names of many genuine Indian citizens to parochial NRC officials besides vindictive police officials and Foreigners’ Tribunal members. “There are reports that documents have been rejected deliberately,” party leader Aminul Islam said.
The exclusion of the name of Shah Alam Bhuyan, an assistant sub-inspector of Assam Police recruited in 1985 and resident of Roumari Pathar in Barpeta district, has been cited as an instance. He was marked a D-voter despite his father Affaz Uddin Bhuyan figuring in the 1951 NRC.
Linguistic and religious minority organisations said there were scores of people whose ancestors figured in the 1951 NRC, but were missing from the updated register 67 years later. The list included Nihar Dhali of Udalguri, declared an Indian by a Foreigners’ Tribunal but marked D-voter again. The name of his father Keshav Dhali is in the 1951 NRC.
Similar is the case of Subrata Dey, who died in the Goalpara detention camp for declared foreigners on May 26. His father Krishna Pada Dey was listed in the 1951 NRC as a 10-year-old along with his grandfather Manoranjan Dey, 40, grandmother Makhan Bala Dey, 26, and uncle Dwij Pada Dey. “Such cases makes the very process of marking ‘D’ or ‘doubtful voters’ under doubt,” said Bidhayak D. Purkayastha, an activist for linguistic minority rights.