Assam Jatiya Parishad accuses govt of not fulfilling poll promise
The Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), one of the two regional parties born out of anti-CAA movement in Assam, on Monday accused the BJP-led state government of “not taking any step” in the past one year to expedite the publication of an error-free National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) though it was one of their key commitment in the manifesto for the 2021 Assembly polls.
AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi said in Guwahati that the ruling BJP’s manifesto for last year’s state polls, which was comprehensively won by the BJP-led alliance for the second straight term, had committed a “corrected” NRC to “protect” genuine Indian citizens and weed out infiltrators.
“Our demand is for an updated error-free NRC because there have been reports or proof of presence of illegal foreigners in the list. However, the state government has not taken any step to ensure an error-free, foreigner-free NRC. They have neither submitted any affidavit before the Supreme Court for a corrected NRC nor submitted a comprehensive plan before the apex court for an error-free NRC. They have been using the NRC as a political tool,” Gogoi said in company of AJP general secretary Jagadish Bhuyan.
The NRC was one of the issues flagged by Gogoi to convey that the first year of the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led coalition government was “one of failure, incompetence and misrule”. The incumbent state government completes its first anniversary on Tuesday.
NRC is a register of Indian citizens. The NRC update was carried out under the supervision of the apex court with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date as stated in the 1985 Assam Accord for detection and deportation of illegal migrants, especially those from Bangladesh.
The updated NRC, published on August 31, 2019, had left out 19,06,657 of the 3,30,27,661 applicants. Those left out of the NRC can appeal for inclusion in the foreigners tribunals with proof once they receive the rejection slips, but this process has not yet started. However, the updated list is yet to be notified by the Registrar General of India, something which has halted the process from moving towards its logical end.
AJP spokesperson Ziaur Rahman said the NRC exercise has been put on the backburner. “The BJP had been pushing for the NRC when it was in Opposition, but now they are not doing anything to resolve the NRC issue when the party has its government both in Delhi and Dispur. It has been put in cold storage,” he said.
The AJP was formed on December 17, 2020.
The state government had earlier objected to the updated NRC as “faulty” as genuine citizens have been left out and foreigners were included in the list. It had sought 20 per cent reverification of the updated list in districts bordering Bangladesh and 10 per cent in the other districts. However, chief minister Sarma said in March the list would be prepared afresh. The government is in talks with the AASU on the NRC issue.
Guwahati-based NGO — Assam Public Works (APW) — the original petitioner in the Supreme Court that led to the update of the 1951 NRC in Assam, said they had moved the apex court once again last month seeking 100 per cent reverification.
“The state government is only playing with words like reverification and new NRC. It calls civil society organisations when it is in trouble on sensitive issues. It should come forward and move the Supreme Court so the process gets expedited. They should clearly tell the apex court what it wants,” APW president Aabhijeet Sharma said.
Besides the NRC update, the AJP also accused the BJP-led government of not pushing the implementation of Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord which provides for constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to the indigenous Assamese people, making Assam flood-free and providing one lakh government jobs to eligible candidates.
The AJP also said that the state’s economy and the rule of law have taken a hit. The government has become a “one-man government” led by Sarma, Gogoi said.
The BJP-led state government has, however, said that it is on the path of speedy development and has resolved to see Assam among the top five states of the country in the next four years.