Regular-article-logo Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Clamour for data on re-verification

NGO worries over ‘faulty’ final NRC

Hiranya Barman Guwahati Published 03.08.19, 06:50 PM
Prateek Hajela

Prateek Hajela Telegraph file picture

A city-based NGO on Saturday asked Assam NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela to “reveal” the procedures adopted while re-verifying 27 per cent applicants because the “safety and security” of Assam and India would be at stake if the updated NRC was not error-free.

Hajela had told the Supreme Court on July 23, during the hearing of the plea by Centre and the state government for a sample re-verification of 20 per cent of applicants from areas bordering Bangladesh and 10 per cent elsewhere, that re-verification was not necessary.


The government plea was based on district-wise data that showed exclusion was just 7.7 per cent in the border areas and 12.7 per cent in other areas, fuelling apprehension that illegal migrants could have got themselves enrolled in the NRC being updated in Assam under the supervision of the apex court.

The Supreme Court had rejected the plea as Hajela had, in a July 18 report, stated that almost 27 per cent applicants in the final draft NRC in each district had been re-verified.

Sachetan Nagarik Mancha president Chandan Bhattacharya said, “He (Hajela) should reveal the process for carrying out the re-verification. Whom did he inform? Did he publicise the drive? Who were the witnesses because in their absence there can be no re-verification. He should reveal these things because a faulty NRC could pose a threat to the safety of Assam and India. We want to know what ‘automatic re-verification’ used by Hajela in the Supreme Court means?”

The state government and ruling BJP members have also been critical of Hajela’s role.

The NGO, which was formed in 2013, had filed an intervening petition in August 2018 in the Supreme Court seeking 10 per cent re-verification of the applicants. It also carried out a signature campaign in June this year on re-verification and collected 25 lakh signatures.

“Hajela cannot reveal documents and information related to the NRC before the state and central governments but the irony is that the responsibility for compilation of documents and information has been given to Wipro, whose employees were arrested due to malpractices. The employees were not verified by the police. There is every possibility that they could delete and add names on their own. That is why we want re-verification,” Bhattacharya said. He, like the state government, drew attention to the NRC data suggesting indigenous people have been left out of the draft NRC.

Cabinet minister Chandra Mohan Patowary on Thursday tabled the district-wise figures of applicants left out of the draft NRC to establish the government’s claim that most applicants from districts bordering Bangladesh were included while the names of a large percentage of applicants from indigenous-dominated districts were left out. He said 40,07,717 people or 12.15 per cent applicants had been left out. The percentage of non-inclusion is highest in Hojai (32.99). It is higher in Karbi Anglong (14.31 per cent), Tinsukia (13.25 per cent) and West Karbi Anglong (15.47 per cent), populated by indigenous communities, as compared to districts bordering Bangladesh like Dhubri (8.26 per cent), South Salmara-Mankachar (7.22 per cent), Karimganj (7.67 per cent) and Hailakandi (8.04 per cent).

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