The stage is set for the release of the second and final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) today amid tight security. The NRC will be released online and in all the NRC Sewa Kendras (NSK) across the state at 10 am (instead of noon as announced earlier), NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela said here today. The NRC will feature the names, addresses and photographs of all Indian citizens, who have been residing in the north eastern state before March 25, 1971, he said.
Security has been beefed up across the state to prevent any law and order situation following the publication of the draft, with deputy commissioners and SPs being directed to maintain a strict vigil, a senior police official said here. Prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in seven districts– Barpeta, Darrang, Dima Hasao, Sonitpur, Karimganj, Golaghat and Dhubri. Vulnerable areas have been identified by the SPs in their respective districts and the situation is being monitored closely to prevent any untoward incident, particularly those arising due to rumour-mongering, the official said.
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The Centre has despatched 220 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces to gear up security in Assam and neighbouring states. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had held a high-level meeting recently on the NRC draft release and directed the officers to remain alert and help and explain the process of claims and objections to people whose names do not appear in the draft. Sonowal had also directed the officials not to refer any case to the Foreigners’ Tribunal based on the NRC draft list.
Hajela thanked the people for extending their help and co-operation along with all the officers and employees involved in updating the NRC for their hard work and dedication. He too pointed out that there would be enough scope for claims by people whose names do not appear in the draft, adding “genuine citizens should not panic if their names fail to figure in the document”. If a person’s name does not appear in the draft, they have to apply in prescribed forms in their respective NSKs. These forms will be available from August 7 to September 28 and the authorities will then inform them the reason for their names being left out.
The next step will be to file the claim in another prescribed form which will be available from August 30 to September 28 and these claims will be finally disposed of after proper hearings. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has taken a special initiative to set up a 24-hour control room at its central office here to help people. The applicants can also call 24×7 toll free numbers–15107 from Assam and 18003453762 from outside Assam– by referring to their 21-digit Application Receipt Number (ARN).
The applicants can also check their names by visiting the NRC website and through SMSs. The NRC is being updated under the Supreme Court supervision with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for genuine Indian citizens in Assam. The first draft of the ongoing NRC process was released at the midnight of December 31, 2017. It comprised 1.9 crore names out of the total application of 3.29 crore people in Assam.