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To stop migration to other states, govt may use biometric data of those left out of Assam citizens list

Attorney General KK Venugopal told Supreme Court that some states, including West Bengal, have fears that people whose name has not found mention in the second and final draft NRC, will migrate to other states.

india Updated: Aug 01, 2018 08:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Assam NRC,NRC,National register of citizens
People queue up to check if their names are included in the National Register of Citizens in Bur Gaon village, Assam.(AP Photo)

The Centre may obtain biometric details of over 40 lakh people whose names did not figure in the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam to prevent them from migrating to other states on fake identities, attorney general KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Venugopal told a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman that a few states, including West Bengal, fear that people excluded from the second and final draft NRC may cross into their borders. “To allay this fear, the government is contemplating collecting the biometric data of over 40 lakh people. This way, foreigners can be tracked down by the authorities even if they escape to another state under a false identity,” he added.

To this, the bench said the government had a free hand in the matter. “You do whatever you like. At this moment, we would not like to comment. You do it, then we will examine it. Our silence is neither a symbol of agreement nor assurance,” the bench said.

The top court also said no coercive action should be taken against over 40 lakh people who were excluded from the register as it was merely a draft. It asked the Centre to formulate the modalities and standard operating procedures, including timelines for deciding the claims and objections arising out of the publication of the draft NRC, and produce them before it for approval by August 16.

At the fag end of the hearing, an LGBT association requested the bench to give 20,000 transgenders a second chance to fill NRC forms but in vain. “You missed the bus. We cannot re-open the entire exercise now,” it said.

The court, however, said it would hear all interlocutory applications on August 16 – the next date of hearing on the main matter.

The second and final draft of the NRC, which is a list of the state’s citizens, was published on Monday with over 2.89 crore names out of 3.29 crore applicants in Assam. The names of around 40.07 lakh applicants did not figure in the document.

The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published in December-end as per the apex court’s direction. It was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, incorporating the names of 1.9 crore out of 3.29 crore applicants.

Assam, which has been facing an influx of Bangladeshi migrants since early 20th century, is the only state to have an NRC. It was first prepared in 1951. The top court had earlier said that the claims of citizens whose names do not figure in the draft NRC for Assam published by December 31 last year would be scrutinised and included in the subsequent list, if found to be genuine.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 07:28 IST