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In Assam, parties plan help for genuine Indian citizens left out in NRC draft

The NRC list is being updated to weed out illegal immigrants as per a provision of the Assam Accord signed in 1985 after a six-year agitation against Bangladeshis.

india Updated: Jul 30, 2018 07:24 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Assam’s NRC draft,National Register of Citizens,Assam
Villagers wait outside the National Register of Citizens (NRC) centre to get their documents verified by government officials, at Mayong Village in Morigaon district, in Assam on July 8.(REUTERS)

Amid anxieties and concerns over the credibility of the National Register of Citizens draft being published on Monday, political parties and organizations representing various sections have planned a drive to help those who are left out.

Even the All Assam Students Union, which led the movement against illegal immigrants and demanded an NRC, has said it will help all genuine Indian citizens who get excluded in the final draft list.

The 1951 NRC is being updated under the watch of the Supreme Court to ascertain illegal immigrants.

“The first draft had mistakes. There is no guarantee that the complete draft will be error free. We will have to make sure poor people are guided properly in the claims and objections exercise that will follow the publication of the complete draft,” said Dharmananda Deb, a Silchar-based lawyer associated with the All Assam Bengali Hindu Association.

The organisation has formed a team of lawyers to assist people who are left out of the NRC and whose cases are pending in the various foreigners tribunals. The team currently has 21 lawyers but this is expected to go up to 50 once the draft comes out.

Those who do not feature in the complete draft will have another chance to convince that they are indeed citizens in the claims and objections exercise.

“We will have camps outside all NRC Seva Kendras to assist people,” said Azizur Rehman, advisor to the All Assam Minorities Students Union.

The ruling BJP leadership has asked its 25,000 booth committees in the state to go house to house and help people. “No genuine Indian citizen should suffer,” said Ranjit Das, state BJP president.

“The first draft did not have names of those who submitted refugee certificates of the time they migrated. It was a mistake even though the Supreme Court has not said it should not be accepted,” he claimed. A lot of Bengali Hindus had migrated from the then East Pakistan fearing religious persecution.

The Congress, too, plans to set up help centres in all panchayats. “These centres will have our workers helping people fill up the claims and objections forms so that they do not suffer because of illiteracy or lack of knowledge of the procedures,” Ripun Bora, who heads the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee said.

First Published: Jul 30, 2018 07:24 IST