GUWAHATI: The Assam government on Monday said it favoured 20% re-verification of the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the districts which share a border with Bangladesh and 10% re-verification elsewhere.
The statement comes amidst criticism of the government for its failure to begin an exercise where the over 19 lakh people left out of the final NRC can challenge their exclusion.
Speaking in the Assembly, government spokesman and Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary asserted the government stood for a correct NRC.
“We have said the government favours 20% re-verification of NRC in the border districts and 10% re-verification in other districts. We all want a correct NRC; an NRC that doesn’t include any foreigner or exclude any genuine Indian citizen,” Patowary said.
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The Assam Public Works, an NGO which had first moved the Supreme Court seeking the updation of NRC of 1951, is demanding 100% re-verification of the final NRC. It claimed that illegal Bangladeshis and “Jihadis” had made it to the list.
On this day last year, the final NRC list was published that saw over 19 lakh out of the over 3.3 crore applicants being left out. They can challenge their exclusion in the foreigners’ tribunals, which are quasi-judicial bodies, after the receipt of rejection slips, to be issued by the NRC authorities citing the reasons behind exclusion. The rejection slips have not been issued yet due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Patowary asserted that the government was committed to implementing all clauses of the historic Assam Accord that was signed in 1985 between then Rajiv Gandhi government and the All Assam Students’ Union at the end of a bloody agitation against illegal immigration. The NRC was updated in deference to the accord which says the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who entered Assam after March 24 (midnight), 1971, have to be detected and deported.
The fear surrounding the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Assam is that it will encourage the influx of non-Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh. Patowary claimed not a single Bangladeshi minority citizen had migrated to any of Assam’s 26,000 villages.
Opposition Congress staged a protest outside the Assembly on Monday.
“The government spent Rs 1,600 crore in the name of NRC. Over 100 people had died due to anxiety and shock surrounding the exercise. Even after all these, the process is still incomplete. The BJP should apologise to the people of Assam,” Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha demanded.