Guwahati: An Indian Air Force (IAF) veteran and a presidential award holder from Assam has been left out in the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on Saturday.
Chabindra Sarma, a retired flight lieutenant from Tezpur Air Force base in Assam and hailing from Biswanath district of the state, did not make it to the final list despite having all documents required to prove his citizenship.
While Sarma has been left out, his wife and children made it to the list, using the same legacy data of his father, who was a freedom fighter.
Sarma told EastMojo that he appeared for hearings at three different places — one at his village Dekapathar and two others in Biswanath district itself — where the officials concerned informed him that the documents that he submitted were satisfactory. Despite, his name didn’t appear in the final NRC.
“I had submitted my father’s 1951 legacy data, my matriculation certificate, Aadhaar card, my service identity card — everything that was required to establish my citizenship. Even after that, I missed out on the NRC,” said the ex-IAF servicemen.
Sarma, who had served in the IAF for 38 years, said that he does not hold a grudge against anyone or the system that made him undergo through the NRC hearings.
The former flight lieutenant, while he was in service, was awarded the honorary rank of a flying officer on August 15, 2017, but his name was missed out from the NRC final draft that was published on the midnight of December 31, 2017, and also from the complete draft that was published on July 30, 2018.
Revealing this to the media, Sarma said the reason that the authorities concerned gave for his exclusion from the draft NRC was the missing linkage established from the documents that he provided.
“I am linked with my father who is 97 years old, my children are linked to me and we all have used the same legacy data. So how is it possible that my roots are not found?” questioned the ex-IAF officer.
Meanwhile, accepting that it was a massive updating exercise involving thousands of employees and technology scrutinising over six crore documents submitted by nearly 3.3 crore people, there was every possibility of even 0.5% error which would have led to exclusion of nearly 1.65 lakh people from the list, the former IAF official questioned as how one could repeat the errors.
“It is very difficult to believe, how they could make a clerical error — not once, not twice, but thrice,” added Sarma.
Sarma had served the Indian Air Force with postings at different locations in Assam, West Bengal, Delhi, Srinagar, Jammu, Rajasthan among many others. He retired from his service as an honorary flight lieutenant on February 28, 2018 from the Tezpur Air Force base in Assam.
Over 19 lakh people in Assam were found ineligible and excluded from the final list of the NRC that was released by the government on Saturday. A total of 3.3 crore people had applied for NRC, of which 3.11 crore made it to the final list.
Following the publications, several civil organisations functioning in the state including the original petitioner — Assam Public Works — expressed displeasure over the figures of exclusion, alleging anomalies in the re-verification and glitches in the software used in the NRC update process.