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NRC objections see a drastic spike at eleventh hour, thanks to AASU

A large number of these complaints have been filed with the assistance of ‘indigenous’ groups, including the All Assam Students Union (AASU), which led the anti-foreigners movement in Assam.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2019 23:26 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Some four million people were left off a draft National Citizens Register (NRC) published in July in Assam. (AFP)

The number of complaints against inclusions in the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has drastically risen to around 2.6 lakh in the last few days, a top official familiar with the development said.

According to officials, a large number of these complaints have been filed with the assistance of ‘indigenous’ groups, including the All Assam Students Union (AASU), which led the anti-foreigners movement in Assam.

The Supreme Court had set December 31 as the deadline for filing of claims and objections.

Officials said the last two days before the deadline saw mass objections being filed in several districts.

The number of objections filed in my district has gone up to more than 70,000 and we are still in the process of counting them. Most of these objections were filed on the last day,” said Thaneswar Malakar, deputy commissioner of Barpeta district in Lower Assam. The district has 70.74% Muslims, mostly of Bengal origin.

Figures provided by officials associated with NRC had pegged the number of complaints at around 700 just two days before the deadline.

“In our district the number of objections filed stand at around 15,000. Most of them have come on the last day. The local unit of AASU was involved in it,” said Hiranya Das, an official closely associated with the NRC exercise in Nalbari district.

According to an official in the NRC secretariat, the highest number of objections have been filed in Barpeta, followed by Nagaon and neighbouring Morigaon, two Muslim majority districts.

SC, after complaints from several groups that they are not able to file objections at the NRC Nagrik Seva Kendras, had allowed that they can be filed at the district headquarters.

The official clarified that exact number of people against whom complaints have been filed could be more or less than the number of complaints since they have been filed quoting the application receipt numbers. One application may have more than one person.

“The exact number will only be known once we count all complaints and digitise them. There is possibility of several complaints against the same person,” the official said.

NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela will submit a report in the Supreme Court after tabulating the exact number of claims and objections after which a schedule for verification hearings will be approved by the court. The complainant will have to be present for these hearings.

Samujjal Bhattacharya, AASU advisor, admitted that the organisation had helped people to file objections.

“AASU and other indigenous groups had extended support to people filing claims since the over 40 lakh people excluded from NRC draft had indigenous people and Hindus and Muslims have come prior to March 25, 1971 deadline. Similarly, we have also helped people who wanted to file objections. We want a Bangladeshi-free NRC,” he said.

According to NRC officials, 3.12 million people have filed claims for inclusion.

First Published: Jan 01, 2019 23:25 IST