Assam releases NRC data on inclusion, exclusion, claims rampant misuse of ‘legacy’ data
The Assam government, which has been demanding 20% re-verification of names appeared in the draft National Register of Citizens in Assam, on Thursday claimed widespread fudging of “legacy documents” by people in districts bordering Bangladesh to get their names included in the NRC.
Legacy papers refer to electoral rolls up to March 25, 1971, and the first NRC published in 1951 — all of which have been digitised and published by the NRC secretariat.
The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the NRC update exercise aimed at weeding out illegal immigrants, has extended the deadline by a month from the earlier date of July 31 to complete the process.
Releasing the district-wise break-up of over 4 million people who were excluded from the 2018 draft NRC in the state assembly, parliamentary affairs minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said on Thursday the rate of exclusion in border districts was less than the state average.
While 12.15% of the total applicants were excluded from the NRC draft, the corresponding figure for Muslim-majority districts of South Salmara, Dhubri and Karimganj was 7.22%, 8.26 % and 7.57 % respectively, the minister said during a Zero Hour discussion on the matter.
However, the rate of exclusion in districts such as Karbi Anglong (14.31%) and Tinsukia (13.25%) — areas where indigenous people are in majority — is higher, Patowary said.
“The data justifies the fears of rampant misuse of legacy data in border districts like south Salmara and Dhubri…” Patowary said, quoting from the state government’s application in the Supreme Court demanding 20% re-verification of people in border districts.
The top court has already rejected this demand, saying 27 % people had already been re-verified. NRC co-ordinator Prateek Hajela’s had also submitted that there was no need for a fresh scrutiny as the NRC had a multi-layered verification processes, including family-tree verification where all the members of the family had to appear together for hearings.
Patowary questioned Hajela’s report submitted in the SC saying the imposters had used legacy documents of other people to get their names included in the NRC.
Explaining how the government found out the alleged misuse of legacy papers, he said, “It came to light through media reports, through low percentage of exclusion in border districts which have seen unusual population growth and higher exclusion in districts which have higher percentage of indigenous people.”
He said the state government will again approach the Supreme Court for re-verification of names from some districts.
The NRC state coordinator had submitted the district-wise data in a sealed cover to the Supreme Court in August 2018. When asked if NRC data can be made public when the exercise is not complete, Patowary said, “Once the NRC draft is published, it becomes a public document.”
Meanwhile, former chief minister Tarun Gogoi alleged the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government doesn’t want a correct NRC.
“I am happy that the state government is indirectly accepting that the Centre has failed to prepare a correct NRC,” Gogoi said, referring to state government’s attack on the NRC finalisation method in the state assembly.