Indigenous People Dropped From NRC, Claim Assam Govt
GUWAHATI: The Assam government on Thursday, August 1, revealed the district-wise figures of people left out from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and claimed that the percentage of people excluded from the draft NRC was lower in districts bordering Bangladesh having a sizeable Muslim population than those where Hindus were in majority.
The list which contained district-wise figures, laid down by Assam Accord Implementation and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, revealed that 12.15 per cent of the applicants were not included. A total of 3,29,91,385 people had applied for the NRC, out of which, 40,07,717 names were excluded.
According to the list, the percentage of non-inclusion of names in districts bordering Bangladesh like South Salmara was 7.22, Dhubri 8.26 and Karimganj 7.67.
On the other hand, the non-border districts of Hojai and Darrang have the highest non-inclusion rate at 32.99 per cent and 30.90 per cent respectively.
The famed river island of Majuli had the lowest exclusion rate of 1.62% followed by that of the upper Assam district of Charaideo at 2.88%.
Expressing concerns over the genuineness of the NRC, Patowary said, "It is a matter of concern that the percentage of names excluded from the draft NRC is higher in the Bangladesh border districts compared to the rest of the state.”
The ruling BJP members also came harsh upon the NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela expressing doubt about whether a correct NRC will ever be published.
They claimed that the rate of exclusion of NRC applicants in the districts bordering Bangladesh was less than the state average which is 12.15 per cent.
This is proof that a section of people residing in border districts of Assam has wrongly been included in the NRC, they said, slamming the coordinator.
They alleged that there was gross misuse of the legacy data in various districts, particularly in those bordering Bangladesh.
"Due to this misuse, comparatively fewer people were left out of the draft NRC in those districts", Patowary said.
On August 16 last year, the Supreme Court of India had asked Hajela “to file in Court, in a sealed cover, the percentage of the population in each district (district-wise) who have been left out of the final draft NRC.”
Responding to a Zero Hour notice in the Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said in a written statement, “According to data, 12.15% applicants’ names were excluded from the final draft. In districts close to the Bangladesh border, like South Salmara, 7.22% applicants were excluded from the draft NRC. This figure in Dhubri is 8.26% and in Karimganj 7.67%. But districts where indigenous people live, like Karbi Anglong, the figure is 14.31% and in upper Assam’s Tinsukia, where sons of the soil have been living for ages, this figure is 13.25%.”
BJP MLAs Debananda Hazarika, Shiladitya Dev and Numal Momin raised the issue during Zero Hour and demanded re-verification of the NRC. They raised questions regarding the supposed inclusion of allegedly illegal Bangladeshi citizens in the NRC.
“In areas close to international border, 5-6% names were not included whereas in areas where indigenous people including tribals reside, up to 18% names have not been included. People started questioning NRC itself. NRC has to be correct, with 0% error. No foreigner’s name can be included,” said Momin.
Hazarika questioned whether the NRC would be a correct one, “free from any single foreigner.”
“If correct, then it will be a Magna Carta or else it will be a threat to stability, sovereignty, national integrity and unity of our country,” he said.
BJP members also demanded a 20% re-verification in districts closer to the Bangladesh border and 10% re-verification in others.
"We demand a re-verification because we want our NRC to be absolutely error-free,” they said.
Under the Supreme Court's directions, the first draft of the NRC was published on December 31, 2017, and the final draft on July 30 last year, where 40 lakh odd people were left out.
The Supreme Court had, on July 23, extended the deadline for publication of the final NRC by a month to August 31.
"We want an error-free NRC that will include the names of Indian citizens and exclude the names of foreigners," Patowary said.