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Sun, 26 May 2019

Northeast Today

NRC’s Curious Case of Quashed Documents

NRC’s Curious Case of Quashed Documents
November 14
16:29 2018

October Edition, Statewide Assam

The National Register of Citizens of India (NRC) in Assam stepped into a fresh mud of controversy when the Supreme Court of India quashed five of fifteen documents for NRC identification as invalid. Sushmita Deb reports…

First Words

The final draft of the NRC was published on July 30 earlier this year, putting aside the names of 40 lakh applicants. The list of those left out not only included the names of those who have been doubted as ‘illegal migrants’, but it also included the names of several genuine and indigenous people of the state. Dousing the fire of doubts, it was decided that those people whose names did not appear in the final draft, will be given another chance to apply and have themselves enrolled in the final list by submitting supportive documents along with the claims form. Moreover, those who did not apply earlier would also be given a chance to apply again; thus, bringing a smile and some hope on the faces from the left out 40 lakhs.

Documents Curtailed

Everything was going smoothly until the NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela suggested the Supreme Court to curtail the number of documents required to prove Assamese identity for the claims and objections process. He suggested that the number of documents must be brought down to 10 instead of 15.

Reacting to Hajela’s suggestion, the Apex Court sought a response from the Centre and other stakeholders. After consultations, the Supreme Court on September 19 kept Prateek Hajela’s proposal to drop five documents for preparing the modalities of the Standard Operating Procedure for dealing with claims and objections open and the matter is now listed for hearing on October 23. The SC has also asked Prateek Hajela to give his views on the permissibility of placing reliance on those five documents for claims and objections.

The Apex Court has also ordered that the process of filing claims and objections for inclusion in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) will remain open for 60 days. The court further said that till October 23 the claims can be filed based on the ten documents. It may be mentioned here that the process of filing claims have begun from September 25.

APW’s Stand

The Assam Public Works (APW) is one of the strong petitioners who has been demanding for a clean NRC in Assam. Sharing his views on the curtailment of documents, APW president Abhijeet Sarma while speaking to this correspondent said, “That is a question mark on the state coordinator that who is monitoring him, who is giving him advice. For 28986677 people, there were fifteen documents but suddenly the state coordinator is saying that for 4070707 people there will be only ten documents for identification, it is completely an illegal process, it is an injustice towards those 40 lakh people. Everyone knows there have been anomalies in the process and illegal immigrants have entered their names in the final draft NRC using the previous fifteen documents.”

“There are names of many indigenous people in the list of 40 lakh people and it will be injustice towards them if only ten documents are allowed for their identification,” Sarma further added.

Adding further he said, “No other state needs not worry about those illegal migrants whose names will be excluded from the NRC list, as to see what to do with them is the problem of the country and the state. The final call lies in the hands of the State Government, Central Government and the Supreme Court, whether these people will be declared stateless or they will be provided with job card.”

Last Words

No state can tolerate any illegal immigrants; the NRC was introduced to detect the illegal immigrants of the state. The suggestion made for the exclusion of certain documents may even bring problems to the legal residents of Assam in proving their identity in front of the law. So, any decision taken by the SC or the Government should not be harmful to anyone. The decision should be unbiased and it should be such which brings justice to the state and its genuine residents.

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