Irked Guwahati residents not applying for claims in NRC updation process

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Irked Guwahati residents not applying for claims in NRC updation process

Nehal Jain | December 11, 2018 14:15 hrs

GUWAHATI: In the final draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) released on 30 July 2018, the names of 40,70,707 had been excluded. Since then, more than 120 days have passed and shockingly approximately 35 lakh people have not approached any of the NRC Seva Kendras claiming to be Indians with further proof.

Certain sections of people, to all appearances, are so irked by the entire NRC updation process that they’ve decided to purposely not apply for claims and objections. The irritation levels have become such that they are virtually throwing a challenge to the government to disprove the genuineness of their citizenships despite them not figuring in the NRC.

“I had submitted all the documents required for NRC, including the legacy data back in 2015. Yet, in the final draft released, my name had gone missing. The names of my wife, our children as well as grandchildren had all been published correctly but they somehow missed my name. Now, I do not have the time to again stand in queues and submit the same documents all over again. So I’ve decided to not apply for claims,” Sunil Jain, a businessman from Guwahati told G Plus.

Further expressing his discontent with the entire process of NRC, he added, “I think it’s the fault of the government and they should be the ones to address the issue and figure out how the name of one member of the family was excluded from the list, instead of harassing the public.”

The process of receipt of application forms for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) started on May 2015 and ended on August 2015. A total of around 3.29 crore people of Assam had applied for inclusion of their names and around 6.6 crore documents were submitted by the applicants, out of which around 5.5 lakh documents were sent to different states for verification.

After thorough screening of the documents, the partial draft of NRC was published on December 31, 2017 in which the names of around 1.9 crore people had appeared. The remaining draft was earlier scheduled to be published on June 30. However, owing to floods in various parts of the state, the publication was delayed by a month.

The final draft NRC published on July 30, 2018 contained names of around 2.89 crore people. The names of over 40 lakh people were left out of the NRC after the publication of the two drafts.
 
NRC officials had then said that this list was only a draft and no deportation would take place according to it. The public were now given a chance to file for claims and objections – those left out of the draft citizenship list were to re-furnish documents for inclusion in the final list of NRC.
 
The process of filing claims and objections for these 40 lakh plus people who were excluded from the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, started on September 25 and was scheduled to end on November 23. However, the deadline was later extended to December 15 by the Supreme Court of India.

Surprisingly, even after more than two months of the claims and objections process being kicked off in the state, only 4.6 lakh people have, until now, come forward to claim the inclusion of their names in the final list. A whopping 34.4 lakh people from Assam who had originally applied for the NRC (National Register of Citizens) have gone missing.
 
Among the missing people who haven’t applied for claims is another businessman from Guwahati, Manoj Jain. Jain, who had submitted the legacy data of his 10-member strong family, informed G Plus that while eight of the members’ names have appeared in the complete draft NRC, his and his mother’s names have been excluded. 

Explaining to G Plus why he hasn’t applied for claims yet, Jain said, “I’m a sole proprietor of my business and it’s very difficult for me to leave everything and stand in queues for hours at the seva kendras. I want to question the government how they could find flaws in my documents, when they couldn’t find flaws in those of my wife who wasn’t even born or brought up in Assam? How did they verify the citizenship of my children by not verifying my own citizenship?”

Similarly, some of the women in the city informed G Plus that while their names had not featured in the list, they haven’t been able to apply for claims as their documents are not in Guwahati and they might not reach here before the process ends.
 
“In the final draft released, the names of all my family members were published excluding me and my mother-in-law. Our documents are all in Rajasthan and we will only be able to re-furnish them once the documents arrive in Guwahati,” a woman anonymously told G Plus.

With just one week to go before the closure of the claims and objection process, the NRC authorities and the union home ministry are baffled to see that about 35 lakh people have gone missing. With less and less number of people coming to the NSK in the last few weeks, this figure is unlikely to show a very dramatic change in the last one week, said the NRC authorities.

It’s time that the government takes into account its shortfalls in this regard and provides the requisite answers to the questions raised by the public surrounding the National Register of Citizens.


Decorated army officers excluded from NRC not applying for claims

Dozens of people from Assam, who spent the better part of their lives having served the country, have been left out of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). While some of these decorated army officers have filed for claims, a few have decided against doing so.

Sana Ullah Ahmed spent his life in the Indian Army, only to be excluded from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens published in Assam. Similarly, former Indian Air Force sergeant Sadullah Ahmed and his two sons, aged 15 and 22, have also been excluded from the list. Ahmed, speaking to media, explained that when he joined the armed forces, the Air Force verified all his documents to make sure he was Indian.

Fifty eight year old Azmal Hoque, a retired junior commissioned officer in the Indian army, along with his son (who's currently in military college) and daughter (a student of army school) were also left out of the NRC.

When they realised that there were dozens of other armed forces personnel who had been excluded from the list of Assam citizens, some of these army personnel decided to protest as a group, hoping it would put greater pressure on the government, and also protect each individual from any threats.
 
While there are army men whose names have not featured in the draft NRC, there’s another retired army officer, Pushp Paul Singh, who informed G Plus that he didn’t apply for the NRC in the first place, let alone applying for claims. He said, “I’ve served for years in the Indian army but my army documents are not accepted as a proof of my citizenship. When a person is enrolled in the Indian army, their nationality is first verified but since those documents were not being accepted, I did not apply for NRC.” 

Bir Bahadur Thapa, who retired from the Army after serving for 32 years and was bestowed with the honorary rank of lieutenant for his outstanding service, along with seven other residents of Assam, challenged the exclusion of their names and family members from the NRC before the Supreme Court in September. 

The bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi had then said, "All the cases of eight petitioners prima facie indicate different superfluous reasons of non-inclusion of genuine Indian citizens. It is a classic example of how numerous genuine Indian citizens are wrongly excluded by the authority despite submission of all valid documents."

The government had said that there is no need to panic as those excluded from the draft will not be deported or arrested immediately and asked them to apply for claims. 


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