Assam Congress against re-verification of NRC data in the state

Assam Congress against re-verification of NRC data in the state

GUWAHATI | SEPT 24, 2020:

The Assam Congress on Wednesday alleged that the BJP's proposal for partial re-verification of names published in the final list of National Register of Citizens (NRC) shows that the ruling party is trying to indulge in politics over the issue.

State BJP leaders recently said that there are anomalies in the final NRC and re-verification of names included in it, is needed.

The Supreme Court had observed that up to 50 per cent re-verification had been carried out in some of the districts and the Ministry of External Affairs also termed the NRC "a fair and non-discriminatory document".

Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia said, "the BJP wants to render the NRC irrelevant by granting citizenship to certain sections of foreign nationals who came to India as late as 2014. Congress continues to strongly oppose this policy of the BJP."

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and the state unit BJP president Ranjit Dass have made various confusing statements in recent days regarding the NRC which is unfortunate, Saikia said in a statement.

"They are saying that the Centre has agreed to the state government's proposal for 20 per cent re-verification of names in the NRC in the border districts and 10 per cent re-verification in other districts," the Congress leader claimed.

The final NRC was published on August 31, 2019, by excluding 19.06 lakh people. A total of 3.11 crore names were included out of 3.30 crore applicants.

The NRC is an exercise to verify the citizenship of people living in Assam.

The state government had already rejected NRC as it claimed that many ineligible persons managed to include their names while genuine Indian citizens were left out from the database.

Saikia said that the matter of re-verification had been discussed in the Supreme Court on September 5, 2018, and the court had favoured 10 per cent re-verification of names by authorities of districts other than home districts of the people concerned.

However, the apex court passed another order on July 23, 2019, rejecting the central and state governments' plea for re-verification of names, he said.

The court had mentioned in that order that the district-wise data provided by the then NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela revealed that up to 27 per cent re-verification had been carried out in many districts, he said.

The court further observed that the procedure adopted by Hajela ensured that re-verification practically became a part of the NRC-related claims and objections process and in some districts, up to 50 per cent re-verification had been carried out.

The final NRC was published on August 31, 2019, and on September 2 last year, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement that the NRC, prepared scientifically under the supervision of the Supreme Court, was a fair and non-discriminatory document, Saikia said.

"Moreover, the process of claims and objections involving the final NRC is yet to be carried out and as such, it is illogical to question the validity of the final NRC at this juncture," Saikia said and alleged that senior BJP leaders of Assam are trying to indulge in politics over the issue.

The Supreme Court had permitted publication of the final NRC more than a year ago and Article 142 of the Constitution makes it mandatory on the central and state governments to implement orders passed by the apex court, he said.

"Therefore, if the central and state governments want to flout the Supreme Court and carry out 20 per cent and 10 per cent re-verification of names included in the NRC, then the Constitution of India will have to be amended," Saikia said.

PTI

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