New Delhi: Thanks to the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC), 40 lakh people are on the verge of becoming stateless. Among those who were found to be ineligible to be Indian citizens are government employees, legislators, teachers and even former president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed's family members.
For Ataur Rahman Mazarbhuiya, a former All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA for Katigorah, the news of his exclusion was perplexing. “My family’s name is there in the list, and so was mine in the first list. But what happened in the second draft beats me. Surely, this is a conspiracy and negligence of some officer,” he alleged.
“I talked to the district magistrate who assured me that all my papers were correct, and that he would investigate and check where the lapse took place,” he added.
Ananta Kumar Malo, the current MLA from Abhayapur South constituency, was also left out of the list. However, the AIUDF leader remained confident the error would be rectified. “A lot of people didn’t figure in the list. It will happen… it will surely happen (the name included in the list),” he said.
But not everybody was as hopeful.
Sixty-three year old Chitrolekha Das, a retired Joint Director of Public Health in Assam, was also declared a ‘foreigner’ as her name found no mention in the complete draft National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“I don’t understand,” she said. “My husband’s name is there in the list and so is my sister’s and brother’s. If this is as vital a document, how did this mistake happen?”
A surprised Das isn’t quite sure about what to do next. “They say I have to file a form. My husband wants me to take legal measures. I don’t know what to do,” she said.
Mohammed Nurul Islam is a government school teacher who was entrusted with weeding out illegal migrants as an National Register of Citizens (NRC) investigation officer. Ironically, even his name was absent from the list — all because he carries a Doubtful-voter (D-voter) tag.
Fifty five-year-old Islam is among 1,25,333 such persons who are stuck in the family tree verification, a vital part of the updating of the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Bhabatosh Chakraborty, a member of SUCI(C)—a communist party—too couldn’t find his name in the NRC draft. He too was puzzled about how he and his wife were left out of the list while his mother and son figured on it.
Shanta Bhattacharjee, a high school teacher and sister-in-law of former vice chancellor of Assam University,Tapadhir Bhattacharjee felt that the redressal mechanism for those excluded from the list was inadequate.
“It’s like a trend. A lot many people in my neighbourhood have one of their family member’s name missing from the list. How is this human error justifiable and why there wasn’t any provision (in the NRC list) of rectifying such an error?” he asked.
Another notable miss was that of the family members of India’s former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. The family of Fakhruddin’s brother Lt. Ekramuddin Ali Ahmed, who hails from Rangia in Kamrup district of Assam, was shocked to find that they were not on the NRC list.
“Since my father’s name is not in the list, we are a little worried about it. Now I need to talk with the elders in my family,” said Ziauddin, son of Ekramuddin, adding that he would try to find documents to make it to the NRC list.
Azad Alam, the Vice Chairman of Municipality Board in Sivasagar was also left out despite completing all formalities.
“My father joined the ONGC in 1964. I have submitted all the documents. I am from here only. My sister’s name is also there. My name will surely appear.”
In Sivasagar, the constituency he is from, a total of 12,350 people’s name has not been mentioned in the list.
Those people whose names didn’t figure in the final draft could file for claims and objections in prescribed forms in their respective Sewa Kendra from August 30 to September 28.