Guwahati, August 26: NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela came under attack from the ruling BJP on Monday, with the party raising apprehensions that foreigners might make it to the register as he was allegedly undertaking the revision process in consultation with just two to three organizations.
The final NRC list, which will identify bonafide citizens of Assam, is set to be published on August 31. The exercise of updating the NRC, unique to Assam, is being conducted under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
Addressing a press meet here, BJP state president Ranjit Dass said people have told his party members that their names had appeared in the first list, published in 2017, but was removed from the “final draft” in July last year.
“NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela had been carrying out the revision work based on his own opinion and those of two to three organisations, after the Supreme Court asked Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal not to interfere in the process,” Dass claimed.
The state BJP chief, however, did not name the organizations he was referring to.
In such a situation, it is difficult for Assam to come up with an error-free register, he said.
“We have received feedback. Many have told us their names appeared in the first NRC list, but went missing from the final draft. These people had to appear several times in different offices for re-verification of their documents.
“Also, there are reports that people who have been declared ‘foreigners’ were being engaged for the NRC citizenship verification work,” he explained.
Dass claimed that names of descendants of freedom fighters and Assam agitation martyrs were excluded during the verification process.
“It seems we will get an NRC which will include the names of illegal foreigners and exclude genuine Indian citizens,” the state BJP chief said.
Appreciating the Centre’s decision to extend the deadline to 120 from 60 days for filing appeals in the Foreigners Tribunals, the BJP leader said around 40 lakh workers of saffron party have been directed to assist the ones approaching the district legal cells.
“We will not allow the exclusion of any genuine Indian citizen, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian or of any other religion, from the NRC. The 1200-crore exercise will not be of any worth if even one genuine citizen’s name gets excluded from the register,” he asserted.
Claiming that the saffron party was not satisfied with the revision process, Dass urged the Centre and the state government to take action against “doubtful” citizens only after a proper investigation.
Assam is the only state to have a National Register of Citizens (NRC). The NRC was first prepared in 1951 under the purview of the Census Act, 1948.
In July last year, 40,07,707 people out of a total 3,29,91,384 applicants were excluded from the final draft of the NRC. An additional 1,02,462 persons were included in the list of excluded persons in June, taking the total ineligible persons to 41,10,169. (PTI)