Assam CM Hints at Law to 'Correct' NRC Count as Saffron Outfits Protest Hindu Exclusions
This comes after hundreds of ABVP activists held a demonstration outside the office of the NRC coordinator in Guwahati, calling for 're-verification' of applications for inclusion in the rolls before the final list is published.
News18 Creative by Mir Suhail
New Delhi: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has indicated that the government may explore legislative options to deal with the wrongful inclusion and exclusion of some names in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) after its final publication on August 31 as mandated by the Supreme Court.
The development comes a day after hundreds of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists held a demonstration outside the office of the NRC coordinator in Guwahati, calling for “re-verification” of each application for inclusion in the rolls before the final list is published.
Besides, the Hindu Jagran Manch also staged a protest demanding postponement of the publication of the final NRC so that “no illegal migrant gets into it”, to prevent the exclusion of a large number of Hindus from the NRC, the Times of India reported.
“The NRC we are going to get on August 31 will leave out many genuine Indian citizens. If it is published in its present form, we will launch an agitation. Since there are instances of legacy data misuse, re-verification is essential,” Manch president said.
The BJP-led Sarbananda Sonowal government has argued that a foolproof NRC isn’t possible without proper re-verification of citizenship claims.
BJP legislator Shiladitya Dev said "many Hindu victims of Partition and their descendants may not have made it to the NRC" in the present form and their exclusion from the final list will have a "serious impact on Assam’s identity and culture".
Sonowal, who held a meeting with union home minister Amit Shah, said, "In a democracy, everyone has the right to ask questions. After the publication of NRC, if necessary in future, we will take whatever steps will be required."
Sonowal was replying to a question on whether the government will explore some legislative options to deal with those whose names may be wrongfully excluded or included in the final NRC.
Last month, the Supreme Court had rejected the Centre's and Assam governments' plea for sample re-verification to find out any anomalies.
Sonowal said there were apprehensions about the law and order situation in Assam when the part draft and the final draft of the NRC was published in 2018.
"But with the cooperation of the people of Assam, everything went off peacefully. This time also, with the active support of the central government and as per the expectations of the people, the NRC will be published on August 31," he said.
In July last year, over 40 lakh people were excluded from the complete draft of the NRC, which contained 2,89,83,677 eligible people out of a total 3,29,91,384 applicants.
An additional 1,02,462 people were included last month in the list of excluded persons, taking the total ineligible persons to 41,10,169 in the complete draft of the document, a list of the Assam's residents.
Assam, which had faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC that was first prepared in 1951.
A bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman had also said like Aadhaar data, an appropriate regime should be enacted for securing the NRC data.
It had earlier said the final Assam NRC would be published on or before August 31.
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