Assam NRC had names of ‘ineligible persons’, says coordinator
The final National Register of Citizens (NRC) published for Assam last year includes the names of “ineligible persons”, the coordinator of the exercise has said while issuing a memo to all district commissioners in the state to seek details of such people.
Signed by NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma, the memo sent on February 19 gave the district officials a day’s time to give details of people who should not have been included in the list. The memo has been seen by HT.
“...it has come to the knowledge of the undersigned that after publication of final NRC on 31st August, 2019, few names of ineligible persons are found present in the final NRC,” said the memo, adding that the information was to be reported to the Registrar General of India “urgently”.
The ineligible persons were specified as DV (doubtful voters), DF (declared foreigners), PFT (cases pending in foreigners’ tribunal), DVD (descendants of DV), DFD and PFTD.
The move comes after Assam Public Works filed a fresh petition in Supreme Court seeking 100% re-verification of the NRC which, it alleged, had names of 8 million illegal immigrants.
“This is the first time NRC office has admitted that names of ineligible persons have entered the final list released last year. The admission shows that the process was not error-free and confirms our claims. Hence, a re-verification of the entire list as sought by us in Supreme Court is required,” said Aabhijeet Sarma of APW, the Guwahati-based NGO that was the original petitioner on whose request the Supreme Court ordered a labyrinthine exercise to count Assam’s citizens and identify illegal migrants.
The final NRC list was published on August 31 with 1.9 million of 33 million applicants having been left out. The process was monitored by the Supreme Court and started in 2015. Citizens were required to show that they or their ancestors were present in Assam before March 25, 1971 through so-called “legacy data” comprising two sets of documents. One set would establish their ancestors’ presence in Assam before the cut-off date. They then needed to provide a second set of documents to trace lineage to their ancestors.
In addition to APW, the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too has alleged that the enumeration exercise is flawed and there must be a verification of at least portion of the database.