Letter to CJI over notices to Assam NRC applicants

The panic and chaos created by "suspicious and sudden" re-verification notices to minority NRC applicants in Assam prompted a group of civil society activists on Wednesday to write a letter to Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi seeking his intervention. AFP file photo

The panic and chaos created by "suspicious and sudden" re-verification notices to minority NRC applicants in Assam prompted a group of civil society activists on Wednesday to write a letter to Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi seeking his intervention.

The letter e-mailed to the Chief Justice, having signatures of 131 activists, writers, journalists and teachers said re-verification notices are being served to NRC applicants despite the apex court rejecting a petition by the government on July 24 for sample re-verification.

"Now notices are being served to people and are asked to appear before the NRC authority in far-flung areas with a short notice of one or two days. The people of Assam in general and people living in riverine areas, in particular, have experienced one of the worst floods in recent years. They are struggling to cope with the losses and many of them are still living in temporary relief camps. Under such circumstances, if these people are asked to attend the NRC hearing giving them just one or two days and summoned to 500-600 kms away from their homes, there is little doubt that a large number of them wouldn’t be able to attend the hearings," said the letter.

DH on Wednesday highlighted how NRC applicants were served notices 24 to 48 hours before hearings for document re-verification 400 to 500 kms away, even as the norms approved by the Supreme Court says an applicant must be provided the notice at least 15-days before the hearing.

The SC fixed August 31 deadline for publication of the final NRC, which is being updated in Assam with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date to detect illegal migrants from Bangladesh living in the state. Over 40.07 lakh applicants did not figure in the draft NRC released on July 31 last year.

"This episode of re-verification has already created a severe humanitarian crisis in the state. People are using risky and disparate modes of travel to reach hearing venues on time. On the evening of August 4, a bus carrying people from Sontoli area of Kamrup district to Golaghat collided with a truck carrying bitumen near Guwahati. Most of them are critically injured," the letter said.

The letter urged the Chief Justice to direct the NRC authority to re-schedule the hearing either within the district or within the adjoining districts and provide at least one week's time so that the applicant can attend the hearing and complete the process within the due date.

 

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