| AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya addresses a news conference on the NRC update in Guwahati on Tuesday. Picture by Eastern Projections |
Guwahati, Nov. 23: The All Assam Students Union today rejected Dispur’s formula to resolve the standoff over the stalled process for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC), 1951 while the state government exuded confidence of a breakthrough within 15 days.
Though the pilot project to update the NRC in Barpeta and Chaygaon revenue circles was not put on hold officially, it lost steam after four persons died in police firing on the supporters of All Assam Minority Students’ Union at Barpeta on July 21.
After holding talks with AAMSU factions and the AASU over the past two days, Dispur is thinking of making changes in the application form, conducting house-to-house enumeration and accepting documents approved by the Election Commission for revision of electoral rolls and updating the NRC as proof. But AASU has objected to the first two proposals, saying it will leave loopholes in the process of NRC update.
The AASU and 26 other ethnic organisations, after holding discussions with the cabinet sub-committee headed by revenue and Assam Accord implementation minister Bhumidhar Barman, today stated that the application form, in its current structure, was simple, transparent and fit for updating the NRC. Hence, there was no need to make any change in it. AASU said if the form was changed, it would suit the purpose of Bangladeshis migrants and help them enrol their names in the NRC. “The state government’s move to modify the form in order to make it comprehensible for the people is unnecessary. It is the responsibility of the government to explain to the people in a simple manner how to fill up the form rather than change it,” AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya said.
AASU has also rejected the government’s proposal for house-to-house enumeration and stated that the NRC should be updated by inviting claims from direct descendants of those whose names figured in the 1951 NRC or in the state’s electoral roll of 1971. Bhattacharyya said they have asked Dispur to give them the three proposals in writing within the next five days so that they can respond to them accordingly.
Government spokesperson Himanta Biswa Sarma told The Telegraph on the sidelines of a government function here that Dispur was hopeful of a breakthrough because of “very positive talks” between the students’ organisations and the cabinet sub-committee. He said discussions were held on “seven to eight points” and the students’ organisations would get back to the committee within seven days with their response.
“We will go for a statewide count in a phased manner within 45 days, instead of the pilot project, to make up for the delay. We will even get the Centre’s nod within 45 days,” Sarma said, admitting that Dispur was often accused by AASU and AAMSU of siding with the other. “But I can say talks are moving in the right direction.” The pilot project was to end in December.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi said house-to-house enumeration was important so that no locals were left out.