Put legacy data online: rights body

Paper trail:A file photo of a woman showing her legacy data details in Morigaon district of Assam.Ritu Raj Konwar

Paper trail:A file photo of a woman showing her legacy data details in Morigaon district of Assam.Ritu Raj Konwar  

A rights body in Assam has urged Prateek Hajela, the State coordinator for the National Register of Citizens (NRC), to make the legacy data available on its web portal.

Uploading the data would help people who were left out of the complete NRC draft, published on July 30, as many of them had “failed to collect the legacy data or collected wrong data” due to illiteracy and sheer ignorance”, the Citizens’ Rights Preservation Committee (CRPC) said.

Legacy data is a set of documents comprising the NRC of 1951 and electoral rolls up to March 24, 1971, which is the cut-off date for detecting foreigners in Assam.

Available for 3 years

NRC officials said the legacy data was available online for three years after the exercise began. It is now under login credentials, which means the access is limited to certain officials. Public access to the legacy data was reportedly withdrawn after cases of misuse.

“Easier access to legacy data would be of help for the left-out people during the process of claims, objections and corrections,” CRPC general secretary Bidhayak Das Purkayastha said.

Political parties and NGOs across Assam have set up assistance booths ahead of distribution of forms for claims, objections and corrections from Friday. Some MLAs have taken up the responsibility individually.

Assistance centres

“We have set up Bidhayak (MLA) Seva Kendras in Dhekiajuli. We will support every single Indian left out of the final draft of NRC, and will ensure no Indian is left out,” Ashok Singhal, the BJP legislator representing the Dhekiajuli seat, said.

Other organisations such as the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad have expressed concern over the alleged move to penalise people who fail to prove the reason behind filing an objection to the inclusion of a suspected foreigner, doubtful voter or declared foreigner in the draft.

“It is too premature a fear, since the Supreme Court would take a call on what will or will not happen during the upcoming phase of the NRC exercise,” an official said, declining to be quoted.

Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, meanwhile, criticised Mr. Hajela for a work “done poorly as proved by the apex court’s censure”. Not ruling out a “faulty” final NRC, he said the citizens’ charter would turn into “waste paper” if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is turned into law.

Recommended for you