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Thousands more set to be out of NRC in additional draft list of exclusions

The draft list will be published on June 15 with names of those who were part of the complete draft which came out on July 30, 2018 but were subsequently found to be ineligible for various reasons.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2019 20:49 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
NRC,Assam,Draft list
People queue up at an NRC Seva Kendra (NSK) near Silchar in Assam .(HT FILE PHOTO)

The National Register of Citizens may exclude thousands of people who were wrongly included in the July 30, 2018, in the next draft to be published on July 15, government officials said on Tuesday.

According to officials in the office of the state coordinator of the NRC familiar with the developments the list will be published on June 15 with names of those who were part of the complete draft which came out on July 30, 2018 but were subsequently found to be ineligible for various reasons. The officials refused to give a number of such individuals.

The names in the June 15 draft will have a window of 15 days to file for claims for inclusion in the complete NRC which is scheduled to be published before the July 31 deadline, the official said.

“Till the final list is published we have the authority to suo moto re-verify details and exclude those who have been wrongfully included,” said one official adding that this is not new as around 1,50,000 persons who made it to the first draft published on December 31, 2017 were excluded from the subsequent complete July draft.

The Supreme Court which is monitoring the process gave its nod for publishing the list after looking into a submission by NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela on April 10.

“During the hearings for the claims for inclusion in the NRC which are ongoing several cases have come to light where people seem to have been wrongfully included,” said the official.

This re-verification, according to officials is being done under a rule in special provision for preparation of NRC part of the Citizenship Rules 2003 which mentions provision for verification.

The complete draft which came out on July 30 excluded 40,07,707 names out of which over 36 lakh people filed claims for inclusion.

The June 15 list of the will also exclude names of those declared foreigners by the foreigners tribunals, doubtful voters and those whose cases are pending in the foreigners tribunals but whose names were included in the NRC. Their descendants who have used their documents to prove that they were in Assam prior to the cut-off date of March 25, 1971, too, have to be kept out of NRC as per the Supreme Court orders.

According to a senior official, till March, around 7,000 people including declared foreigners, doubtful voters and those whose cases are pending in tribunals were identified to have been wrongfully included in the complete draft.

While NRC officials claimed entry of declared foreigners and doubtful voters in draft NRC was because of lack of a centralised database, others including the petitioner in the case, Abhijeet Sarma of the Assam Public Works had used to attack the veracity of the process. Sarma had demanded complete re-verification in 22 districts.

“The provision of verification in the Citizenship Rules should be applied in letter and spirit. It has been endorsed by the Supreme Court of India and is part of the standard operating procedure. If they are applying, this will definitely help in illegal foreigner-free, correct NRC,” said Samujjal Bhattacharya, chief advisor, All Assam Students Union which led the Assam agitation against foreigners.

Azizur Rehman, chief coordinator of the Coordination Committee of Minority Organisations of Assam said suo moto re-verification seems to be a ploy to exclude Indian citizens. “They have decided to bring this additional draft without any consultation. It appears they want to exclude Indian citizens who have already made it to the NRC draft. We will move the Supreme Court against this,” said Rehman.

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 20:49 IST