23, Nov 2018 | CJP Team
On November 21, CJP Secretary Teesta Setalvad and our Assam Project Coordinator Zamser Ali appeared together on a Facebook Live broadcast to highlight the plight of people who were facing several challenges in filing claims to have their names included in the National Register of Citizens (NRC). A day after this, NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela issued a notice to all local NRC officials to make certain accommodations for married women and children under 14.
The Facebook live broadcast where we exposed the way Nagrik Seva Kendras were treating women who only had Goan Panchayat Secretary certificates and young children may be viewed here:
Throughout our sustained campaign in Assam, we had unearthed and highlighted how more than half of the 40 lakh people left out of the NRC’s final draft published on July 31, 2018, were married women and children. This is because most of them do not have documents that are acceptable to NRC authorities.
Over four million people have been left out of the NRC draft, most of them from socio-economically backward communities. Now CJP, drawing from its previous experience in providing legal aid in Gujarat, will step in with a multi-faceted team of lawyers and volunteers to ensure that these people receive a fair chance while filing claims across 18 of the worst affected districts. Your contribution can help cover the costs of a legal team, travel, documentation and technological expenses. Please donate generously here.
CJP’s Volunteer Motivators are traveling across the length and breadth of the state to help people file claims. We have discovered that it is the women and children who are the most vulnerable. This is unfortunate because, though the Supreme Court had directed that the Village Panchayat Secretary’s certificate should be considered in case of married women who have moved from their maternal village to their marital homes in another location, many Nagrik Seva Kendra (NSK) officials are refusing to accept these certificates questioning their authenticity. In our Facebook Live broadcast we highlighted how these officials are disregarding the Supreme Court order and many NSKs are turning away these women, questioning the authenticity of their documents.
However, a day after our broadcast, NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela issued notice to all District Registrars of Citizen Registration (DRCR) and Local Registrars of Citizen Registration (LRCR) and NSK officials showcasing two new and more women and child friendly Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the Claims and Objections process. The notice may be read here:
This means that oral or written submissions from parents about the lineage of a child would be considered as a part of the Claims process. This is significant as very often children that young do not have either birth certificates or school leaving certificates. Similarly, by reiterating their commitment to the Supreme Court’s order about the acceptance of Village Panchayat Secretary Certificate, the NRC authority has alleviated the concerns of lakhs of rural housewives who are genuine Indian citizens.
This is the direct impact of CJP’s constant scrutiny and reportage from the ground. We hope the NRC authorities will continue to take cognizance of our reports and work towards ensuring that all people left out of the NRC final draft get a fair opportunity to file claims.
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