‘You are dragging issue’: Supreme Court slams Assam govt at citizen register hearing
The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Assam government after its chief secretary failed to be present in court to answer queries on foreigners issue during a hearing on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state.
The court was about to issue a non-bailable warrant against the chief secretary but refrained from taking the coercive step after the solicitor general urged against it.
During the hearing, the Assam government admitted around 70,000 migrants who were declared foreigners have merged with the local crowd in the state.
The state failed to satisfy the Supreme Court over what steps it has taken to detect such migrants living as locals now. “Your affidavits are an exercise in futility. You are simply dragging the matter. No amount of disappearance or lack of cooperation will solve this problem,” the court told the solicitor general.
The apex court adjourned the matter to next Monday and said the Assam chief secretary should be present on the next date.
Over 4 million of the 32.9 million in Assam were left out of the NRC draft, released on July 30 last year. The Centre and the Assam government insisted that register is still a draft and that there is adequate recourse available to those not included.
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 3, 2017 listed 19 million people.