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1.5 lakh people may lose their citizenship status in Assam

The first draft published on midnight of December 31, 2017, had 1.9 crore names out of the 3.29 crore who applied.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2018 00:06 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
National Register of Citizens,NRC updation,illegal immigrants
People wait to check their names on the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) at Goroimari in on January 1.(AFP File Photo)

Around 1.5 lakh people whose names were in the first part draft of the ongoing exercise of updation of National Register of Citizens (NRC), now risk earning the tag of illegal immigrant. They will not be part of the July 30 draft of the NRC following discrepancies reported in the second round of verification process, authorities said on Tuesday.

The first draft published on midnight of December 31, 2017, had 1.9 crore names out of the 3.29 crore who applied. The Supreme Court on Monday extended the deadline to publish the second draft to July 30. The NRC?exercise is being conducted to identify alleged illegal immigrants in the state.

As per the Supreme Court order, those who will be excluded, include 65,694 cases of family tree investigations, whose claims were found to be false in the second round of family tree verification, 48,456 cases of married women who submitted certificates issued by Gaon panchayats to prove their citizenship and 19,783 persons whose names were erroneously mentioned in the first draft .

This has led to questions on the credibility of the ongoing exercise.

“How is it possible that names of 1.5 lakh foreigners were included in the first draft? Who are the responsible officers?” asked Tarun Gogoi, former chief minister. “It just proves that the NRC exercise is not being done properly from the initial stage,” he said, adding that there were apprehensions that genuine Indian citizens may be kept out of the final draft.

“How is it possible that despite the exercise having been started in 2015, there are still errors,” asked Aminul Islam, the general secretary of All Indian United Democratic Front.

Around 40,000 state government officials and outsourced data entry operators have been engaged in this mammoth exercise which started in 2015.

An NRC official, on condition of anonymity, however, counters these claims, but blamed “architecture of the whole exercise” for the errors.

He explained that how in some cases the family tree verification done before publishing the first draft was found to be false when all the families were brought together for a joint verification.

In the case of Gaon panchayat certificates, the NRC official said some officials at the local level verified them even though it was supposed to be done only after the publication of the first draft.

The Supreme Court, in its order of July 2, amid opposition by several groups, upheld the directives given by NRC?state coordinater Prateek Hajela on D (doubtful) voters — those of declared foreigners and those whose cases are pending with the foreigners tribunals will not be part of the complete draft till their cases are decided.

“It goes to the credit of the NRC authorities that we have been able to spot problems before the publication of the complete draft,” Hajela said.

An NRC official said out of the approximately 1,26,000 D voters, over 63,000 have been identified, and out of another around 90,000 declared foreigners, another 4,500 have been identified.

First Published: Jul 04, 2018 00:06 IST