Assam State BJP Expresses Apprehensions Over NRC Process
GUWAHATI: As the publication date of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) has finally arrived with the same slated to be published on Saturday, August 31, different political parties have expressed their respective stands on the NRC process.
While the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit has openly shared its apprehensions over the fairness of the final list, the opposition Congress feels that the state government is using NRC for its own political interests.
August 31 marks an important day in the history of Assam as 3.29 crore people will come to know about their citizenship status through the NRC list. However, as per the ministry of home affairs, if a person’s name is not included in the NRC, it does not amount to him or her being declared a foreigner and they would have an opportunity to appeal before the foreigners’ tribunals within a period of 120 days.
The state BJP President Ranjit Kumar Dass expressed concern over the process of NRC updation.
Addressing a press meet in Guwahati recently, Dass said, “We are not happy with the way the NRC updation has been conducted till now.” He added that they want an error-free NRC publication which is fair. The state BJP chief mentioned that they fear that names of genuine Indian citizens could be left out due to some errors and foreigners’ names could be included in the list.
Further, the state BJP president mentioned that not even a single genuine Indian citizen should be left out of the NRC list as that would directly affect their dignity.
Talking about the future course of action post the NRC publication, Dass informed that they have directed all BJP workers to assist those whose names have not been included in the list and help them to file for appeal.
Doubting the authenticity of the list, Dass also referred to previous instances of several genuine citizens who were left out of the draft NRC.
“Many reports have surfaced where NRC officers have been alleged of corruption to include the names of some citizens in the NRC list using fake documents. These allegations should be looked into thoroughly,” said Dass.
He further mentioned that the party welcomes the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to increase the time limit to appeal before the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) from the initial 60 days to 120 days.
The MHA had said that “non-inclusion of a person’s name in the NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared as a foreigner.”
On the other hand, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal mentioned that the state and the central governments are taking all possible measures to ensure that the NRC publication is completely error-free. He also urged people not to panic if their name does not figure in the NRC on August 31.
‘BJP using NRC for its political purpose,’ says Congress
The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee has alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is using the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for its own political purpose.
Talking to G Plus, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President, Ripun Bora said, “Looking at the way things are going, it seems that the BJP government does not want the NRC list to be published and wants to delay the process.”
He added, “This is why a few days ago, the state government along with the centre, had moved the Supreme Court asking for a 20% sample re-verification of the draft NRC in districts bordering Bangladesh and 10 per cent in other districts.”
Bora mentioned that they want a 100 per cent accurate, completely correct NRC in which no foreigner’s name should feature and said that the authorities should ensure that no genuine Indian citizen’s name should be left out of it. He further added that if some names have been included in the list wrongfully with the help of fake documents, the government would verify it.
The Congress also announced that the party will provide legal aid to those genuine citizens whose names have been left out of the final list.
Attacking the BJP, the APCC president said that when the draft NRC was published, it was seen that names of some former army personnel, family members of freedom fighters was missing from the list. “They want to deprive some people in the name of religion, which is wrong,” said Bora.
He further added that those whose names are missing from the final list should be provided with the proper order within a week after the publication of NRC so as to help them in appealing in front of the Foreigners’ Tribunal.
“We appeal to the government to provide the excluded people with the proper order within a week after the publication of the final list,” Bora told G Plus.
Talking about the necessary precautions needed in the aftermath of the NRC publication,
Bora added that the government should take special care to ensure that no communal tension or rumour mongering takes place after 31st August.
“Law and order should be properly maintained and protection should be given to each citizen so that no one should panic or feel insecure,” he emphasised.
Genuine Indian citizens should not be harassed: AIUDF
On the other hand, Haidar Hussain Bora, general secretary and spokesperson of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) said that they are hopeful of a fair NRC list. He, however, said that genuine Indian citizens should not be harassed in the entire process.
“We have full faith in the Supreme Court that a fair NRC list would be prepared under their supervision. We hope that the final list is impartial and fair but nothing can be said until the list is published,” Haider told G Plus.
Acknowledging that there is a possibility of some errors cropping up in the NRC list since the task is being undertaken on a mammoth scale, he added that if some allegations against the NRC officials surface regarding some error on their part, they should work towards rectifying it.
“If a genuine citizen’s name has not been included in the final list due to some technical error or any other reason, they shouldn’t be fearful as they will get 120 days’ time to appeal. Even we are ready to help genuine Indian citizens who are facing legal trouble,” mentioned Haider.
He, however, mentioned that genuine Indian citizens should not be left out of the list and appealed to all citizens to maintain calm and peace and not to panic.