Assam: NRC publication may be delayed as 1.23 crore applicants yet to be verified

Assam: NRC publication may be delayed as 1.23 crore applicants yet to be verified

GUWAHATI, November 10, 2017: The state coordinator for updating the National Register of Citizens(NRC) of 1951 has submitted before the Supreme Court that 1.23 crore applicants for inclusion are yet to be verified, which has now raised question whether the draft publication would able to meet December 31 deadline as announced by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

Earlier, the state coordinator of the updating process had told the Supreme Court that the draft NRC would be published by March 2018. However, after Sonowal subsequently announced that the draft would be published in December 31 this year, the court rapped him for "intervening in the matter of preparation and publication of the draft NRC when this court has been monitoring the process".

Petitioner Aabhijeet Sharma of Assam Public Works told TOI, "State coordinator Prateek Hajela in his report told court that there is 1.23 crore names are left for verification and the court was unhappy to know about the huge number of applications left to be verified."

The centre, state government and Assam Police chief also submitted report regarding steps taken to ensure law and order during the NRC updating process.

"After today's hearing we ask whether NRC will be completed by December 31 as there is only 51 days left and 1crore 23 lakhs documents yet to be verified," Sharma said.

The sole purpose of the verification process is to ensure that no ineligible person gets entry and that no genuine person gets left out.

The verification process, which is guided by Rule 3 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, includes scrutiny of applications received by comparing the information stated in the application form with the official records and the persons. Only when the information is found to be in order, the person shall be eligible for inclusion of his names in the consolidated list.

 The process of submission of applications was completed between June 1, 2015 to August 31, 2015 and the process of verification started from September 1, 2015. The office of coordinator received 68 lakh application forms, covering 107% households because as per 2011 Census there are 64,06,471 households in Assam, which has increased in next four years when the NRC process started.
The Centre last had made it clear to all stakeholders in the NRC update process that it will soon begin reverification of 'doubtful' citizens to make the list error-free, which also could lead to a delay in the publication.
The only time such a register was prepared in the state was in 1951 by recording particulars of all the persons enumerated during the 1951 Census. This list is now being updated to include the names of those persons (or their descendants) who appear in the 1951 NRC or in any of the electoral rolls up to the midnight of March 24, 1971. The objective is to filter out these immigrants from Bangladesh who have been illegally staying here.

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