NRC – The Silver Bullet Of Assam ?

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STUTI AICH

A major issue which has dominated the state of Assam is the National Register of Citizens, whose first draft was published at the stroke of midnight on 31 December 2017. The names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore total applicants in Assam, were reflected in the draft, recognising them as legal citizens of India.

The NRC is being prepared to segregate names of genuine Indian citizens living in Assam from those who had illegally entered the state from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.

Under the procedures adopted, one has to link oneself to a family member whose name had appeared either in the NRC of 1951, or to any of the state’s electoral rolls prepared till 1971.

A woman carrying her son arrives to check her name on the draft list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) at an NRC centre in Chandamari village in Goalpara district in Assam, January 2018. © Reuters

The family tree is a vital component of the NRC updation process and will weed out fake legacy claims. The genuineness of a claim of a person lies in his/her belonging to the same ancestor.

 

NRC is being prepared to segregate names of genuine Indian citizens living in Assam from those who had illegally entered the state from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971

 

However, a senior officer associated with NRC process said, “We are unearthing several fake claims in the family tree verification process. There are instances where individuals with a fake ancestor have a Pan Card and are enrolled in the voters’ list.”

Pointing out a specific case, sources said that in one such case of Nagaon district, one person claimed himself to be Suresh Das, son of Robi Das. He used the legacy data code of Robi Das. Interestingly Robi Das could not recognise Suresh. During questioning, Suresh admitted that his real name is Fakaruddin, son of Umed Ali. The most disturbing finding was that Fakaruddin had even managed to get a voters’ identity card in the name of Suresh Das.

Hence, a list of anomalies pertaining to names submitted in the NRC applications have been sent to the respective districts and based on this list a physical verification process has been initiated at the designated NRC Seva Kendras.

Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Virendra Mittal told that “A software, developed by the NRC, State coordinator’s office matches the names submitted in the family trees and weeds out mismatches.” He further stated that the Authorities had at the district level issued letters to the families and called them to the Kendras so that they can be physically verified and any confusion cleared. If there is any legacy which has been fraudulently used by someone this will also be unearthed in the process.

 

One person claimed himself to be Suresh Das, son of Robi Das. He used the legacy data code of Robi Das. Interestingly Robi Das could not recognise Suresh. During questioning, Suresh admitted that his real name is Fakaruddin, son of Umed Ali. The most disturbing finding was that Fakaruddin had even managed to get a voters’ identity card in the name of Suresh Das

 

It is significant that around 48 lakh mismatches in family trees have been detected so far and NRC authorities are calling such individuals for on the spot verifications.

In addition to this, From April 2 onwards, the verification of certificates issued by the Gram Panchayat Secretaries begin.

The Supreme Court has upheld the legality of such certificates after the Guwahati High Court ruled against them saying these had “no statutory sanctity”.

The NRC updation process makes it mandatory for the Circle Officer/Gram panchayat Secretary to issue a certificate for women migrating after marriage. In the ongoing updation process, around 29 lakh women have submitted panchayat certificates to act as a document of proof for their citizenship.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) directorate has stated that approximately 40 percent of the verification process has been completed and the remaining portion is expected to conclude within May 31.

The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the process of updation of NRC, has directed the chief secretaries of states to cooperate in the process.

The Supreme Court, in its March 27 order, issued directions to state authorities to make all arrangements related to the publishing of the draft NRC by June 30. The court will hear the matter next on May 8 and take stock of the progress made in the updation process. ■

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