As the much-awaited updated final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was published on Saturday (31 August), excluding names of over 19 lakh applicants, the outcome didn't go down well with BJP's Himanta Biswa Sarma and All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), both expressing dissatisfaction and urging the Supreme Court to allow re-verification for "a correct and fair NRC."
"A total of 3, 30,27,661 people had applied to be included in the NRC. Of them, 3,11,21,004 found mention in the document while 19,06,657 individuals were excluded," a statement from the NRC State Coordinator's office said in Guwahati.
The status of both inclusion and exclusion can be viewed online in the official NRC website – www.nrcassam.nic.in.
Expressing little faith in the final list that intended to identify legal residents and weed out illegal immigrants from the northeastern state, Sarma said, "We have lost hope in the present form of the NRC" adding that the saffron party was already mulling a "fresh strategy on how to drive out the illegal migrants."
I reiterate that as requested by Central and State governments at least 20% reverification (bordering districts) and 10% re-verification(remaining districts) should be allowed by Honble Apex court for a correct and fair NRC. 2/2
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) August 31, 2019
The BJP minister claimed that names of Indian citizens who migrated from Bangladesh prior to 1971 as refugees were not included while "many names got included because of manipulation of legacy data as alleged by many." "In districts bordering Bangladesh, like South Salmara and Dhubri, the rate of exclusion is the lowest and in Bhumiputra district, it's high. How it can be? We are not interested in this NRC anymore," Sarma further said.
He also urged the Supreme Court to take cognisance of the matter and allow a 20 percent re-verification for bordering districts and 10 percent for remaining districts for a "correct and fair NRC".
The president of All Assam Students' Union Dipankar Kumar Nath indicated a similar disappointment over the release of the final NRC document and avowed to approach the apex court to file appeal for "rectification of these mistakes".
"There are faults in the latest NRC. AASU is disappointed with the document. When AASU wanted only 10 documents to be given for re-verification, the Centre and the state governments insisted on 15 in the Supreme Court. Officers who were diligent working were transferred out. The NRC is incomplete but we have complete faith in the judiciary. We will approach the Supreme Court to appeal for rectification of these mistakes," Nath said at a press conference in Guwahati.
AASU general secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi accused the government of failure in providing the indigenous people of the state a "foreigner-free NRC".
"Since the Central and state governments failed to update the NRC for the past six decades since 1951 such mistakes have crept into the latest documents. Had it been done every 10 years it would not have been so. The political parties have failed to fulfil their responsibility. We demanded that re-verification be done using government agencies but it was not done. However, we have faith in the Supreme Court and we will approach it. Only due to the apex court things at least this took a shape. The Assam government failed to avail the opportunity to hand the people of the state a foreigner-free NRC. In fact in the last one year only 75 people were referred to the Foreigners' Tribunal," said Jyoti Gogoi.
The chief adviser of the state's student union body, which was formed in the backdrop of massive refugee influx and Indian government's support in settling them in the state, Samujjal Bhattacharya was surprised at the gap between initial estimate of illegal immigrants and the actual names excluded.
"In the last 40 years, six years of Assam Agitation and 34 years after that Assam has been demanding identification and expulsion of illegal migrants. It was decided that all people who were not in India before 24 March, 1971, will be identified and expelled. We were hopeful of a positive result because it was done under the supervision of the Supreme Court. It is surprising that the final number of exclusion is much less than it was originally estimated," said AASU's Bhattacharya addressing the media in Guwahati.
Also exhibiting unhappiness was former chief minister Tarun Gogoi. He said that many Indians had been excluded and a large number of foreigners were included. "This will lead to much more problem now" he said, adding, "The Home Ministry has miserably failed to prepare the NRC. Now they are trying to hoodwink the people."
Meanwhile, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that Saturday's verdict on NRC list would serve as a lesson to the BJP, adding that the "so-called myth of illegal migrants has been busted."
Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM: I have my own doubts that the BJP through Citizen Amendment Bill can bring a bill wherein they can try to give citizenship to all non-Muslims, which will again be a violation of Right to Equality. pic.twitter.com/ihoQrl1GXC
— ANI (@ANI) August 31, 2019
Reacting to the final NRC list, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said, "There is a thin line between nationalism and xenophobia — besides, hatred of the foreigner could later turn into a hatred of Indians different from oneself" — Rabindranath Tagore. The prescience of a great man!"
In the middle of reactions pouring in post the publication of final NRC list, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said that a NRC is also required in Delhi as illegal immigrants who have settled here are "dangerous" and the demand will be part of the party's election manifesto for the Assembly polls in 2019.
Speaking to ANI, Tiwari said that the situation of illegal migrants has crossed the danger mark and there is a need to look into the situation.
"National Register of Citizens (NRC) is needed in Delhi as the situation is becoming dangerous. Illegal immigrants who have settled here are the most dangerous, we will implement NRC here as well," he said.
When asked if BJP will include it in its manifesto, the BJP MP said, "Why not? It will be in our manifesto. Delhi needs it." "NRC will help in eliminating terrorism and prevent crime from illegal immigrants," he added.
Updated Date: Aug 31, 2019 15:43:09 IST