30, Aug 2018 | Zamser Ali
The Left-Democratic Mancha, Assam—a common platform of 11 Political Parties—and the Forum Against Citizenship Act Amendment Bill (FACAAB), a forum of informed citizens, have voiced a unanimous demand for an error free NRC.
In a joint memorandum presented to the State Co-ordinator, NRC the two organisations have expressed their anguish with regard to the on-going process of update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. The Memorandum has alleged various irregularities, which has led to the dropping of large numbers of women, children and other Indian Citizens from the final draft of the updated NRC.
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The two organisations, have, once again clarified what they have been demanding all along:
- An error-free National Register of Citizens now being upgraded under strict supervision and guidance of the Supreme Court of India. What they mean by ‘error-free’ is the inclusion of all the names of Indian citizens residing in Assam and the non-inclusion of the name of any person who is a foreigner in the upgraded final list of NRC. This is, of course, an arduous task but if achieved, can actually fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the people of Assam. Both organisations have alleged that “gross anomalies” in the preparation and publication of the final draft of the NRC that was published on 30 July 2018. The names of hundreds of thousands of citizens have been left out in the final draft without any reason. The names of large number of people belonging to all castes, communities and ethnic groups are found missing in the final draft although they have submitted proper legacy data and all other relevant documents at the time of application for inclusion in the NRC.
- There are also reports of the large scale exclusion of names belonging to both religious and linguistic minority communities in some places.” In the Memorandum it is alleged that “the bureaucratic bungling or inept handling of applications, coupled with high-handed and arbitrary action, by a section of LRCRs have led to exclusions of names in large numbers.
- The names of thousands of married women and children who had submitted legacy data and linkage certificates could have easily been verified with the help of ‘Family Tree’ formula and spot verification in their respective localities before any arbitrary exclusion. Repeated hearings in such cases were quite unwarranted.
- The names of applicants who had submitted legacy data of their mothers or grandmothers were also excluded in some cases. Such actions amount to brazen assaults on the dignity and equal rights of women.
- The Migration Certificates issued in 1964-65 period have also been rejected while claiming for inclusion in the NRC. This would certainly be a great injustice to the people who have migrated and settled in Assam or elsewhere in the country before March 24, 1971 with valid documents issued by the concerned authorities of the Central Govt.
- What is most disturbing, when people went to their respective NSKs to inquire about the reasons for exclusion of their names, a large number of such people were informed that they were marked as ‘D’ Voters and hence their names were dropped. As a matter of fact, these so called ‘D’ Voters never knew that they were marked as ‘D’ or their cases were referred to the FTs for disposal. They have been enjoying the right to franchise since long and had even cast their votes in the 2016 Assam Assembly election without being scarred as ‘D’.
- What is really appalling is the fact that some people were informed that they were ‘Declared Foreigners’ by the FTs even though they never knew that cases against them were pending in the Tribunals and no notices were ever served on them regarding such cases. When inquiries were made to know the case number and other details, no one could provide required information. The concerned authorities expressed helplessness and reportedly stated that they too, were in the dark on this matter.
- It is the considered opinion of the two platforms– the Left-Democratic Mancha, Assam and the FACAAB– that fresh marking of ‘D’ Voters and references of such cases to the FTs at this stage, while the process of up gradation of the NRC is in progress, should be stopped at least until the publication of the Final NRC.”
The Memorandum said, “We have reasons to express such an opinion since the process of the up-gradation of the NRC too is a legal process and it is being monitored by the country’s highest judiciary and documents of the applicants are being screened thoroughly.
- We also demand that the list of ‘D’ Voters and the names of DFs are to be made public and displayed in the concerned NSKs with details of case number etc. in the interest of maintaining full transparency.
- With regards to the scope of Objection Against Inclusion, the Left-Democratic Mancha, Assam and the FACAAB express its apprehensions that “a chaotic situation may arise if any person can make an objection for inclusion in the draft NRC and if there is no restriction on the number of filing any number of objection and no requirement of his being a local resident of the NSK. The disruptive forces may take full advantage of the SOP and raise objections in large numbers only to delay, disrupt and nullify the whole process.
- The two organisations have therefore, urged the State Co-ordinator, NRC, to consider this aspect with all the seriousness at his command. They demand that the objector should be restricted to raise objections within his own NSK areas against inclusion of any name in the draft. Any further extension of areas beyond his NSK will, undoubtedly, create an anarchic situation.
- The cases of a stream of people who entered the country from the ‘Specified Territory’ (present day Bangladesh) between 1966-1971 should be sympathetically and carefully dealt with. They should not be harassed due to ignorance or procedural lapses of certain provisions of the Assam Accord.”
Finally the memorandum concludes saying that, “We, therefore, earnestly request you to consider our opinions and observations with due diligence and seriousness with a view to publishing a flawless final NRC as per schedule fixed by the Supreme Court of India.“
The Memorandum was submitted on August 28 and was signed by eminent thinker and Chairman of FACAAB, Dr. Hiren Gohain, Harekrishna Deka, IPS (Retd); Prof. Udayaditya Bharali (Retd. Principal, Cotton College); J.P. Saikia, IAS (Retd); Dr. Dinesh Baishya (Retd. Principal, B Barooah College); Haidar Hussain (Eminent Journalist); Dr. Haren Das (Sr. Advocate, Guwahati High Court); Debabrata Das(Literature); Prof. Abdul Mannan (Former Prof. Guwahati University); Dr. Dilip Bora (Prof. Guwahati University); Holiram Terang (Former Minister and Tribal Leader); Jiban Goswami (Retd. Sr. Bank Executive); Dr. Navanil Barua (Renowned Surgeon); Abu Nasar Sayeed Ahmed(Literature); Deben Tamuli (Journalist); Santanu Borthakur (Advocate, Guwahati High Court); Kishor Kumar Kalita
(Advocate & Columnist); Dhiren Ingti (Tribal Leader); Manoj Sarma (Social Activist); Krishna Gogoi (Advocate) and Rasel Hussain (Entrepreneur), Manjit Mahanta, Convener, FACAAB.
The All Left-Democratic Mancha, Assam comprises of 11 political parties, namely CPI, CPI (M), CPI (ML), Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (S), Naionalist Congress Party (NCP), Aam Admi Party (AAP), Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Asom Songrami Mancha(ASOM), RCPI, AIFB.
*Feature Image: People stand in line to check their names on the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) at Gumi village of Kamrup district in the Indian state of Assam on January 1, 2018. /VCG Photo