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'No Grudge': IAF Veteran Left out from Final NRC Can't Believe He Failed Citizenship Test Thrice

'No Grudge': IAF Veteran Left out from Final NRC Can't Believe He Failed Citizenship Test Thrice

Honorary flight lieutenant (retired) Chabindra Sarma from Biswanath Chariali in Assam failed to include himself in the list despite using the same Legacy Data that his parents and children registered with.

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Karishma Hasnat

Guwahati: An Indian Air Force (IAF) veteran has been excluded from the final updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) released on Saturday even as his entire family managed to make it to the list.

Honorary flight lieutenant (retired) Chabindra Sarma from Biswanath Chariali in Assam failed to include himself in the list despite using the same Legacy Data that his parents and children registered with. Over 19 lakh people have been excluded from the final NRC and over 3 crore have been found eligible for inclusion. “It is my bad luck,” said the 57-year-old ex-serviceman, still finding it difficult to believe how he could fail the citizenship test.

Proud of his 38 years of service in the IAF and the time he spent in the force, the retired junior commissioned officer said he did not hold a grudge against anyone or the system that failed him despite making him undergo three NRC hearings.

“I wish they clear my name. I don’t have any grudge against anyone. I am basically Indian, born Indian. I will always remember my time with Indian Air Force – I served as an airman, it was a very prestigious service.” Sarma was accorded the honorary rank of flying officer on August 15, 2017, and retired as honorary flight lieutenant on February 28, 2018. His name was missing from the part publication of draft NRC that was published on the midnight of December 31, 2017, and also from the complete draft that was published on July 30, 2018.

“I had submitted my father’s 1951 Legacy Data, my matriculation certificate, Aadhaar card, service identity card — everything required to establish my citizenship. When I was rejected in the first draft list, the NRC authorities said my linkage was not established. How is that possible? I am linked with my father who is 97-year-old, my children are linked to me. We all used the same legacy data,” said Sarma, adding he would not hesitate to take legal recourse to prove his citizenship.

Assuming that it was an exhaustive updating exercise involving thousands of employees and technology and that over 6 crore documents submitted by 3.3 crore people were scrutinised, even 0.5 per cent error would have led to 1.65 lakh people being excluded from the list. However, Sarma wondered how could one make repeated errors. “It’s difficult to believe how they could make a clerical error – not once, not twice, but thrice.”

Nevertheless, he is happy for his family members whose names have appeared in the updated citizenship list. The veteran’s daughter is an engineer working at Mysore Infosys, while his son is working at a luxury hotel in Goa.

Sarma has served at several places across India – with postings in Assam, West Bengal, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan among other places. During the Kargil War, he was working at the Tezpur Air Force base.

(With inputs from Tusher Hazarika)


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