Illegal migrants forged documents to become citizens

Illegal migrants forged documents to become citizens

People verify the National Register of Citizens (NRC) forms to file claims and objections at an NRC centre, in Guwahati, on September 25, 2018. PTI file photo

Documents are being forged to include names of "illegal migrants" in the National Register of Citizen (NRC), is updated in Assam, to become Indian citizens, says a report submitted to the Supreme Court by NRC co-ordinator Prateek Hajela.

The NRC 1951 is being updated only in Assam under the supervision of the Supreme Court with March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date, as agreed in the Assam Accord. The accord was signed in 1985 to solve Assam's foreigner problem since the Partition.

In the report, which was shared with various stakeholders recently, Hajela cited several case studies in which touts or the applicants forged documents such as citizenship certificates, refugee registration certificates issued before March 24, 1971 and even misused legacy data to prove that their forefathers lived in Assam before the cut-off date, to include their names in the NRC.

The report gave an example of one applicant, Nikhil Das, who had submitted documents in South Assam's Cachar district to include his name and his four family members in the NRC but during verification, it was found that except him, the rest were still living in Kachua village in Sunamganj district of neighbouring Bangladesh.

He illegally entered India through borders in Tripura and then came to Silchar in Assam with his uncle. He paid Rs 8, 000 to a lawyer for a fake relief eligibility certificate, one of the accepted documents, in his grandfather's name and obtained a fake birth certificate, PAN card, voter ID card, Aadhaar and other documents as linkage document for himself and other members of the family for inclusion in the NRC.

The report said refugee registration certificates and citizenship certificates which were earlier issued mainly by Assam government departments to migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) are the preferred choice of forgerers or touts to sneak in illegal migrants.

The report said that a special investigation team constituted by the Assam Police had detected 484 similar forgery cases related to the NRC. "It is humbly submitted that in the interest of an error-free NRC or even in the background of a problem of illegal immigration, it will be desirable that a comprehensive probe be conducted regarding submission of forged documents by applicants and issue of bogus documents by various public authorities," said the report.

Hajela submitted the report in support of his plea in the Supreme Court that five documents including citizenship certificates and refugee registration certificate should not be accepted for submission of claims by those who could not make it to the draft NRC, released on July 30 this year. More than 40.07 lakh persons, out of total 3.29 crore applicants found their names missing from the draft NRC.

Hajela's report also said legacy data were also misused by applicants.

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