Error-Free Final NRC Remains In Doubt, Concern In All Quarters
GUWAHATI: “My name is not there in the NRC final draft list but names of my family members are there. I was born in Assam before 1971 but still I am scared about the process,” said Kedar Nath of Jyotikuchi.
Similarly, many people are still apprehensive of whether the NRC final list will be error-free and accurate for various reasons. No doubt that the Supreme Court of India is monitoring the entire process and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) secretariat officials are working overtime but the accuracy of the entire process remains questionable.
State leader of opposition, Debabrata Saikia, talking to G Plus said, “I can’t say it would be an error-free NRC or not but it should be a foreigner-free NRC.”
He added that there are attempts made by many to exclude many names on the pretext of silly mistakes like spelling mistake of names and other similar minor mistakes. He just hopes that people are not deliberately excluded.
He also said that other political parties keep saying that there are 40 lakh foreigners in Assam which is not correct and such statements also should not be made as previously only draft lists were published. Any statement can be made only after the final list is published.
According to media reports, the chief minister was claiming that everyone has the right to question. Therefore, after the publication of NRC, if required, the government will take whatever step is necessary. This by itself is making the citizens of Assam wonder whether an error-free NRC is possible in Assam.
The Centre and the Assam government sought permission for sample re-verification to find out wrongful inclusions and exclusions of persons in the NRC.
An additional exclusion list comprising the names of 1,02,462 persons to the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published in Assam in July. With the release of the additional exclusion list, the NRC has so far excluded over 41 lakh people as around 40 lakh people were left out in the final draft NRC published in July last year.
The persons whose names appear in the additional exclusion list are the ones who were included in the draft NRC published on July 30 last year, but subsequently found to be ineligible. This again raises questions on the accuracy of entire NRC updation process.
Meanwhile, the NRC authority is considering recommending strong action against a senior Assam government official for alleged irregularities in checking documents of people from Chamaria and some nearby areas in Kamrup district after which re-verification had to be done.
According to media reports, Kamrup (Rural) Deputy Commissioner, Kamal Kumar Baishya, had sent a report to the NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela about two months ago on the alleged irregularities by a former Circle Officer of Chamaria under his district which came to light in 2018.
He had allegedly ticked the original inhabitant (OI) column for all the people, including Hindus and Muslims, in the verification list, which lessened his burden for cross-checking the documents as well as the tedious process of finding out the family tree of the applicants. This is only one case which came to light because the deputy commissioner of the district reported it. What is the guarantee that such incidents have not happened in the entire state? The NRC authorities might be doing their jobs utmost sincerely but they are human beings prone to error.
In September last, the ruling BJP in Assam on Monday reacted sharply to NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela's suggestion to the Supreme Court to strike out five of the listed 15 documents for the claims and objections process of the NRC exercise.
The Assam unit of the BJP had criticized NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela for telling the Supreme Court that so far, 27% of the names included in the draft had been verified again, even as the apex court dismissed appeals by both the state and the Centre demanding 10-20% sample re-verification a few days back.
BJP state president Ranjit Das had questioned Hajela’s intent the basis of the 27% re-verification. Das suspected mala fide intent. He had demanded up to 20% re-verification to ensure a correct NRC without wrongful exclusion and inclusion. Das claimed that he stood by his demand because even if some more time is taken the saffron party would want a correct NRC. So if the president of the ruling party is worried about the accuracy of the entire NRC process, what stops the citizens from doing so?
Administration, police on its toes ahead of 31st August
As the publication date of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) is nearing, the city police have tightened security across the city and especially at the NRC headquarters located at Bhangagarh.
Police sources revealed that the NRC headquarters is under strict security vigil 24/7 adding that 6 companies of CRPF personnel have been deployed in the city along with the existing forces.
Kamrup (Metro) Deputy Commissioner, Biswajit Pegu, talking to G Plus said, “We are geared up for the occasion and we do not foresee any law and order issue but we are prepared for any kind of situation post the publication of the NRC final list.”
Police sources said that even the city is under security cover with frequent checking and frisking everywhere.
There are some identified sensitive zones and the local police are accordingly covering the areas.
Hatigaon and its adjacent areas are sensitive zones in the East Police District. Azara, Kahikuchi, Maligaon, Fatasil, Kotabari and Dhirepara are sensitive zones in the West Police District and Panjabari, Satgaon, Baghorbari, Nijarapara at Noonmati, Bonda and Panikheti are considered as sensitive zones in the Central Police District of the Guwahati police commissionerate.
A senior police official said, “Even though the sensitive zones have been identified, law and order incidents might occur at a place which is not considered a sensitive zone. So the police are prepared for any kind of exigency anywhere in the city.”
Guwahati is the capital; after the NRC is published there might be agitations which might take place in the city. So the police are also prepared for the law and order situation to handle the protestors.
All the police station officers have been instructed to keep a sharp watch for probable trouble makers.
Police have also involved nagorik committees and village defence groups for conducting night rounds with the respective police stations’ night duty patrolling parties during late night and early morning hours.