23, Apr 2019 | CJP Team
CJP’s volunteers have been working tirelessly on the ground in Assam, helping families in the aftermath of the publication of the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC). The NRC has left the Indian citizenship of millions in jeopardy. Here is a glimpse at our volunteers’ efforts.
Faruk Ahmed, community volunteer in Assam’s Morigaon and Nagaon districts, reported that one family received notices for a hearing on the same date, but in different places. Marjat Ali, who lives in Sengajan in the Nagaon district got a notice for April 3, and his daughter, Habiba Khatun, who is married and lives in Kotholudup in the Sonitpur district also received a notice for a hearing on the same date. Both Marjat Ali and Habiba Khatun had used the same legacy data for their NRC paperwork, and it is key to present the original documents at the hearing. Since the family could not travel to different districts on the same date, the CJP team in the Sonitpur district intervened, and discussed the issue with the local NRC authority, and had the Sonitpur hearing rescheduled to April 6. The hearing process was then completed with the assistance of Mubarak Ali, Volunteer Motivator, Sonitpur, Hadi Alam, a community volunteer in Sonitpur, and Faruk Ahmed.
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.
There seem to have been instances in which disposing officers or other NRC officials do not present themselves at hearings at the appropriate time. In one case, Faruk Ahmed, community volunteer in Assam’s Morigaon district, reported that, in the Bhuragaon circle office in the district, a hearing that was scheduled to start at 9am instead began at 3pm. Two children in a family had been excluded from the draft NRC, and the family was forced to spend the entire day at the hearing centre. Finally, Faruk Ahmed took initiative and ensured that the hearing began with the officials, and helped submit the relevant documents. The hearing was concluded at 3:30pm.
The NRC process seems to be rife with technical glitches. CJP volunteers had, in January 2019, informed the CJP team in Mumbai about multiple technical glitches; in one case, the name of a family that was included in the draft NRC did not show up when entering the Application Receipt Number (ARN). In another case, a family’s residence data was changed on entering the ARN and legacy data. More recently, Majidul Islam, Volunteer Motivator in the Barpeta districted reported that the NRC authorities have been repeatedly calling people to submit their biometrics, and providing two or three dates for one person, or one family. Islam said that it is very difficult to travel to a hearing centre multiple times, and also alleged that someone had collected money in the name of biometrics.