Names of serving, former servicemen missing from Assam NRC draft

The NRC, which was first prepared for Assam in 1951, is being updated at the insistence of the Supreme Court, although it has been a longstanding demand of most political organisations in the state.

india Updated: Aug 02, 2018 15:03 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
Assam NRC,NRC,Assam NRC draft
The NRC is aimed at distinguishing the state’s citizens from illegal immigrants, mostly from Bangladesh. The first draft of the updated NRC, released on December 31 last year, listed 19 million people.(AFP Photo)

Enamul Haque, a soldier in the Indian Army, has been a worried man ever since the National Register of Citizens that seeks to prove citizenship and weed out illegal immigrants was released in Assam on Monday.

Naik Haque is one the several serving and retired defence personnel from Assam whose names are among the 40 lakh people missing from the controversial document.

All the members of Haque’s family figure in the complete draft of NRC and he now will have to file claims to ensure that his name is included in the final list.

“Like everyone else I too had applied for inclusion in the NRC list. I also got a notice from the NRC centre 3 months ago for verification of documents. But since I couldn’t get leave, my family members went and verified them. But while their names are in the complete draft, I am surprised that mine is excluded,” Haque, posted in Uttarakhand’s Roorkee, said over the phone.

The 29-year-old hopes the process for registering claims is over soon and his name included in the final list so that he doesn’t have to worry about being tagged as a ‘foreigner’.

The NRC, which was first prepared for Assam in 1951, is being updated at the insistence of the Supreme Court, although it has been a longstanding demand of most political organisations in the state.

The register is aimed at distinguishing the state’s citizens from illegal immigrants, mostly from Bangladesh. The first draft of the updated NRC, released on December 31 last year, listed 19 million people.

Sana Ullah, a retired junior commissioned officer (JCO) in the Indian Army, is also worried.

“During the verification of documents at the NRC centre in April, the officials had told us that all our papers are in order. But when the complete draft came out, my name, my wife’s name and those of my three children were missing,” Ullah said.

The names of all the other family members of the 51-year-old, who retired after 30 years of service, and now works as an accountant in a Bengaluru firm, are included in the draft.

Similarly, Samsul Haque had hoped he would lead a smooth life at Balikuri, his ancestral village in Barpeta district, after retiring in 2014 as a sergeant in the Indian Air Force (IAF).

“But since retirement, I have been busy trying to prove I am an Indian. I got notices in 2016 that I have been listed as a D-voter (doubtful voter) in electoral rolls. I fought the case in foreigner’s tribunal, which ruled in my favour,” the 57-year-old said.

“I submitted the tribunal’s verdict in the election office as well as the NRC centre. But my name, my wife’s name and my two children are missing in the complete draft. All my other family members, who submitted same legacy data, find mention in the list,” Haque, who served for 35 years, added.

Retired IAF sergeant Sadullah Ahmed and his two sons are also missing from the complete draft. His wife, however, is included in the list.

“After taking retirement, I have been working as an assistant audit officer in the auditor general’s office in Guwahati since 2010. We completed all formalities needed for inclusion in NRC. Now we will have to go through the entire process again,” the 49-year-old said.

The names of two other ex-servicemen, Azmal Hoque and Mahiruddin Ahmed, both of whom were declared Indians by the foreigner’s tribunals after they were summoned to prove citizenship, are also missing from the complete draft.

The government has said there is no need to panic as those excluded from the draft will not be declared foreigners immediately and that no one would be deported or arrested.

Claims and objections from those not included in the final draft list will be taken up from August 30 to September 28. The complete list would be published only after all these claims are settled.

There is no deadline yet for that process.

First Published: Aug 02, 2018 15:03 IST