The Assam government on Monday denied allegations that it was interfering with the NRC update process for excluding people's names, saying no genuine Indians would be left out. It will be ensured that no foreigner's name is included in the update exercise of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said in the Assembly.
The Assam government on Monday denied allegations that it was interfering with the NRC update process for excluding people’s names, saying no genuine Indians would be left out. It will be ensured that no foreigner’s name is included in the update exercise of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said in the Assembly. He was speaking on behalf of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who holds the home portfolio. Sonowal has categorically said all Indian citizens’ names would be included.
Allaying fears of exclusion of people’s names from the citizen’s register, Patowary termed it “false”. The people, whose names did not figure in the NRC final draft, are entitled to file claims and objections as due opportunities are available before publication of the final citizen’s register, he said during the Question Hour. Responding to the allegation by the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Aminul Islam that the government was interfering with the NRC process by referring names to the foreigners’ tribunals, the minister said the citizens register was being updated under the Supreme Court’s direct supervision and there was no question of any interference.
“Under the MHA’s (ministry of home affairs) instruction the Assam government has issued directions to all the SPs and DCs that no action for fresh inquiry or reference to tribunals should be initiated by the administration or police till the final NRC is published.” The tribunals, however, may issue notices regarding the cases referred to it before the publication of the final NRC draft, Patowary said. He also informed the House that the state government had filed two affidavits in the Supreme Court to accept the earlier-mentioned 15 documents during the claims-and-objection process, instead of new guidelines of 10 documents only.
On the Congress and AIUDF seeking removal of NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela, Patowary expressed helplessness, saying he had been instructed by the apex court not to share any information regarding NRC with the legislators, judiciary and executives. “Hajela had recently submitted a letter to the SC in a sealed envelope. We do not know what is there. We have requested the Supreme Court to share information with us as law and order is a state subject. It is a very sensitive subject,” he added.
The assembly witnessed some noisy scenes during the discussion over alleged harassment of people over proving of their citizenship. The Opposition pointed out a few cases, where some people were harassed by the tribunal authorities, but Patowary termed them “rare”. He informed that 4,55,976 cases of ‘D’ (doubtful) voters have been referred to the tribunals till December 2017. From January-April this year, a total of 1,079 cases have been forwarded by the border police and the total number of ‘D’ voters in the draft electoral roll published on September 15 is 1,19,559, he added.