NRC countdown: Final draft to release around Monday noon

+100%-

GUWAHATI, July 28: As the countdown begins for the release of the draft national register of citizens (NRC) in the next 72 hours, it is a race against time at the NRC coordinator’s office here, where final touches are being given to the mega-exercise to detect non-nationals.
Unlike the first draft released last year on December 31 midnight, NRC officials here said the final draft is expected to be released around mid-noon on Monday.
“We will be able to release the final draft by 12 o’clock noon here. Subsequently the document will be available in all the NRC seva kendras (NSK) across the state as well as online. Things are almost done, and we are only gearing up for the release,” a senior NRC official told TOI.
There are 2,500 NSKs in the state, and more than 95% work has been done as on Friday, officials said. For over 50,000 people engaged in updating the NRC of 1951, which process kicked off from 2015, many are preparing to head to work much before the normal office hours at 10 am on Monday.
On the other hand, thousands of people, mostly in lower Assam districts and Barak valley, are anxious about their namea not figuring in the draft, even as the central and state governments have reiterated that citizens will be given the opportunity to file claims and objections in case their names do not appear in the draft. The anxiety stems from the fact that about 1.5 lakh people, whose name appeared in the first draft, are to be deleted from the final draft because of erroneous entries. Also, there are several lakhs of doubtful voters and declared foreigners’ family members, whose inclusion depends on clearances given by foreigners’ tribunals.
With anxiety running high, the government has beefed up security cover across the NSKs with an estimated 200 companies of central paramilitary forces comprising over 20,000 personnel manning sensitive areas.
“The question of anxiety should not arise because genuine citizens will have all the opportunities to get their names included later on even if they are missed in the draft NRC. Our exercise is to get in the names of all genuine Indian citizens,” NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela said.
Hajela said people will get to know about their names in the draft through internet, text messages through pre-registered mobile numbers and NSKs among other facilities.
“At the moment we can only say that we are fully ready to release the final draft on Monday,” Hajela said, when asked about how names figured in the final draft.
In the first draft, out of 3.29 crore applicants, 1.9 crore names were included.
All India United Democratic Front chief and Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal on Friday said peace has to be maintained at all costs in the run-up to the release of the NRC draft and after it. (TNN)