Assam govt, Cong raise questions over NRC's correctness

 People wait to check their names on the draft list at the National Register of Citizens (NRC) centre at a village in Nagaon district, Assam state, India, July 30, 2018. REUTERS

BJP-led government in Assam and the Opposition Congress on Thursday raised questions over the correctness of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) with both expressing apprehensions over possibility of genuine Indian citizens being dropped and "illegal migrants" included.

This comes less than a month before the publication of the final NRC, which is being updated with March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date to detect illegal migrants from Bangladesh living in Assam.

"After the complete draft was released it was observed that the districts bordering Bangladesh had less number of applicants missing from the draft whereas the number of excluded were more in the districts having maximum indigenous population. The districts bordering Bangladesh like South Salmara and Dhubri had only 7.22% and 8.26% dropped from the draft respectively. But it was 14.31% in Karbi Anglong and 13.25% in Tinsukia where the indigenous people mostly lives," Assam parliamentary affairs minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said in a statement tabled in the state Assembly.

Patowary said keeping in mind the possibility of "illegal migrants" making it to the NRC, the state government had submitted a petition in the Supreme Court seeking sample re-verification of 20% applicants in the bordering districts and 10% for others. But the plea was turned down by the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on July 24.

"The state coordinator Prateek Hajela informed the Supreme Court that 27% of applicants were re-verified during disposal of claims and objections but it was done without the knowledge of all. So if the names of genuine citizens are dropped from the final NRC and illegal migrants manage to get into it, the state will face disturbance. Who will take responsibility for that? Then it will become the responsibility of the state government to control the situation," he said.

The Supreme Court has fixed August 31 as the deadline for publication of the final NRC.

BJP legislator Shiladitya Deb slammed Hajela saying he was carrying out the NRC exercise in "dictatorial style" and even mislead the Supreme Court by providing "false information" in sealed envelop. BJP state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass on Wednesday also slammed Hajela.

The former chief minister and senior Congress leader, Tarun Gogoi said the NRC would turn out to be a "waste paper" if genuine citizens missed it and illegal migrants gain citizenship. Over 40.07 lakh applicants failed to make it to the draft NRC, which was released on July 31 last year.

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