09, May 2019 | Zamser Ali
In several shocking instances of the abuse and subversion of the NRC process in Assam, it has come to light that people have been forced to file Objection applications against others whose names have appeared in the NRC.
We have copies of complaints filed by some such people from Kokrajhar district of Assam, who claim that they were forced by members of the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) to put their signatures on as many as 10 Objection forms!
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.
The letters are addressed to the District Registrar of Citizens Registration and each complainant’s letter carries the ARN numbers of all people against whom the respective complainants were forced to file objection applications. All complainants have appealed that no action be taken against the innocent genuine citizens against whom the objection applications were filed. The complainants have withdrawn their objections in the letter and instead demanded action against the ABSU members who forced them to file the false objections.
The incidents of coercion by ABSU members allegedly took place in December 2018, just days before the deadline for filing objections. The complaint letters that can be seen here show that how the unwilling objectors were labourers and that the ABSU members came from an office situated in Narabari Anchalik. Four such complaint letters may be read here:
Following reports of the possibility of false objection applications, opposition parties are up in arms. The Assam INC leader of the opposition Debabrata Saikia issued a strongly worded statement on the subject on Wednesday. He says, “It is a matter of great concern that widespread complaints have arisen about a concerted campaign to harass religious and linguistic minorities during the NRC-related claims and objections process, which started recently.”
Saikia adds, “A nefarious force has conspired to intentionally register bulk complaints with the NRC authorities, questioning the citizenship of genuine citizens belonging to the minority communities.” He gives the example of complaints against several descendants of Late Osman Ali Sadagar, who was an MLA from the undivided Nagaon district in the pre-Independence era (1937-1946).
Saikia goes on to not only allege that the complaints are motivated, but also that the NRC authorities may be deliberately harassing people from minority communities by scheduling their hearings in far flung places. Mincing no words, Saikia says, “Even the NRC authorities are playing a dubious role when it comes to harassment of minority groups. Many people whose citizenship has been called into question have been summoned to far-flung NRC Seva Kendras despite the existence of Seva Kendras near their areas of residence.” He gives an example of one family where, “one member of a certain family has been summoned for hearing to Kokrajhar while another member has been summoned to Udalguri on the same day.” He also highlights how this is not only a logistical nightmare, but is also leading to financial hardships for impoverished families.
A copy of the statement is marked to both, the Registrar General of India and the Census Commissioner. The entire statement may be read here: