Guwahati: Even though the much-awaited National Register of Citizens (NRC) was released on Saturday, some of the front-ranking organisations of the state, including the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), have expressed unhappiness over the number of people excluded from the final list.
While the Congress party and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) lashed out at the BJP over the NRC in Assam, organisations like the All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) believes that names of genuine Indian citizens have figured among the list of people excluded from the final list.
Announcing that it will appeal against the final NRC in the Supreme Court, AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said that there were some deficiencies in the updating process of the NRC. “We are not happy at all. It seems there were some deficiencies in the updating process. We believe that it is an incomplete NRC. We will appeal to the Supreme Court to remove all the faults and discrepancies in this NRC,” Gogoi said.
The AASU is a signatory to the Assam Accord, a 1985 document that provided for “detection, deletion and deportation” of illegal foreigners from Assam.
The NRC in the state has been updated under the monitoring of the Supreme Court to include only genuine Indian nationals. “The final figure of exclusion did not reach near the figures officially announced by the authorities on various occasions over the years,” it regretted.
The students’ body also criticised both the Centre and state governments for their various policies in this regard.
Terming the number of exclusions of people from the final NRC appear to be “ridiculously small”, president of the AGP and state Cabinet minister Atul Bora, said, “We (AGP) are not at all happy about it (the exclusions). The figure of 19,06,657 exclusions in the final NRC is too less and we just cannot accept it. There is scope for its review in the Supreme Court,” Bora said, adding: “The people of Assam had hoped for a free and fair NRC but it now seems that the very existence of the Assamese will be further threatened.”
The AGP will hold discussions and chalk out its future course of action regarding a review of the NRC in the Supreme Court, he added.
Addressing a press conference soon after announcement of the NRC list, president of the state unit of the BJP Ranjit Kumar Dass expressed serious concern over the number of people excluded from the list. He also criticised the authorities in the NRC for ignoring the interest of the genuine Indian citizens of the country.
Earlier, Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that he was unhappy with the final list of the NRC in Assam. Sarma, the chief architect of BJP’s recent growth in the Northeast and a proponent of the NRC, said a number of people were included in the final NRC list because of “manipulation” of legacy data.
On one hand, Sarma alleged that a number of people made it to the final NRC list due to manipulation of data, while on the other hand he claimed that many Indians were excluded because the authorities refused to accept refugee certificates as documents for the NRC exercise.
“Names of many Indian citizens who migrated from Bangladesh as refugees prior to 1971 have not been included in the NRC because authorities refused to accept refugee certificates. Many names got included because of manipulation of legacy data as alleged by many,” Sarma said.
Ripun Bora, president of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, commented that the officials conducting the NRC process were the employees of the Assam government. He contended that it was the government’s duty to check whether the list contained the name of a ‘foreigner’ or that a bona fide Indian’s name was missing in the NRC. Bora held the BJP responsible for any discrepancies in the final NRC list.
Talking to media, Azizur Rahman, adviser, AAMSU, expressed full faith in the Supreme Court and the NRC process. “We have full faith in the Supreme Court of India and we believe that the apex court will take adequate initiatives to include the names of genuine Indians whose names have been excluded from the final list of the NRC,” Rahman said.
“NRC is a scientific process. Six layers of verification process were maintained before releasing the final NRC. I don’t think that it won’t be possible to include the names of the foreigners in the final NRC,” he added. The minority students’ leader also expressed serious concern that name of person like Sanaullah has been excluded from the finals list of the NRC.
Sanaullah, who served the Indian Army for more than three decades, was sent to a detention camp in Goalpara after he was declared a ‘foreigner’ by a Foreigners’ Tribunal in Assam on May 23. Later, the division bench of Gauhati High Court granted interim bail to him with a surety amount of Rs 20,000.
The Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM), an anti-influx body of the state, led by Supreme Court lawyer Upamannyu Hazarika, blamed the ruling government of shedding crocodile tears. It alleged the state government of doing “too little and too late” when it comes to the NRC. Following the release of the first draft, PVM was among the first to demand a re-verification of NRC list.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday lashed out at the BJP over the NRC in Assam.
“BJP should learn a lesson. They should stop asking for NRC throughout the country in terms of Hindus and Muslims. They should learn from what has happened in Assam. The so-called myth of illegal migrants has been busted. Many people in Assam have told me that the parents’ names are included, but names of their children are excluded. For example, Mohammad Sanaullah, he has served in Army. His case is pending in High Court. I am sure that he will also get justice,” he said.
The final National Register of Citizens in Assam was finally released on Saturday. The list has identified 3.11 crore applicants as citizens, excluding names of 19.07 lakh hopefuls, the NRC state coordinator’s office said.