With district-wise data, Assam govt. pushes for NRC

The Centre and Assam urged the court for more time to cross-check “wrong inclusions and exclusions” in and from the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Assam government on Thursday pushed for re-verification of the applications for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) after district-wise data presented in the Assembly suggested most people in areas bordering Bangladesh have been included in the citizenship list, while many in districts dominated by the indigenous people have been left out.

This triggered a heated debate between the legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led ruling coalition and the Opposition led by the Congress, which was against re-verification.

‘Threat to integrity’

The debate began after BJP legislator Debananda Hazarika doubted the fairness of the NRC scheduled to be published on August 31.

“A fair NRC will be like the Magna Carta but a flawed one would threaten the integrity and sovereignty of the country,” he said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary provided data that said more than 90% of the names in four districts bordering Bangladesh had been included, while many have been excluded in districts dominated by indigenous people. The data said 91.78%, 92.33%, 91.96% and 92.78% people in Muslim-dominated Dhubri, Karimganj, Hailakandi and South Salmara districts have been included in the NRC.

With district-wise data, Assam govt. pushes for NRC

Barring Hailakandi, the others border Bangladesh. In Barpeta and Nagaon, two other Muslim-dominated districts, names of 86.6% and 85.8% people have been included.

“In the indigenous and tribal-dominated districts such as Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong, Baksa and Sonitpur, 14-15% people have been excluded. Likewise, 22% people in Bongaigaon and 18% in Guwahati have been excluded,” Mr. Patowary said.

The districts where the least number of people have been included in the NRC are Darrang (69%) and Hojai (67%).

Not error-free

To drive home the point that the NRC was not error-free, Mr. Patowary cited the example of South Salmara.

Several people in Salmara traced their roots to a single legacy person to get fraudulently into the NRC.

Other BJP legislators said suspected citizens have been engaged in the NRC upgrading work and a few have already been arrested.

Mr. Patowary said that the State government would appeal to the Supreme Court again for the extension of the NRC exercise to facilitate “much needed” re-verification.

The apex court had last month rejected the State and Central government’s plea for 20% sample re-verification in border districts and 10% in other areas.

It was to be done in order to ensure an error-free NRC.

SC’s rejection

The Supreme Court’s rejection of the plea followed NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela’s submission that 27% re-verification had already been done.

“His claim is irrelevant as he had not taken the people of Assam into confidence while carrying out the 27% re-verification as claimed,” Mr. Patowary said.

The Minister slammed Mr. Hajela for keeping the the State and Central governments in the dark despite using 55,000 State government employees for the updating exercise and spending ₹1,200 crore of the government’s money to prepare a list that “leaves room for doubt”.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 3:54:49 AM |

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