Barak groups seek more time for NRC claims

Applicants find it hard to file by December 15 deadline as govt staff has been diverted for panchayat poll duty

By Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee in Silchar
  • Published 4.12.18, 12:06 AM
  • Updated 4.12.18, 12:06 AM
  • 2 mins read
Members of the Citizens’ Rights Protection Co-Ordination Committee submit their memorandum to the deputy commissioner in Silchar on Monday. Picture by Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee

More than 43 organisations of south Assam’s Barak Valley have demanded extension of deadline for submission of claims for inclusion of names in the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) by two months in view of panchayat elections.

Under the umbrella of Citizens’ Rights Protection Co-Ordination Committee, the organisations submitted a memorandum of demands to state NRC co-ordinator Prateek Hajela through Cachar deputy commissioner S. Lakshmanan here on Monday.

The organisations are also demanding acceptance of application forms for claims without unnecessary objections and cancellation of proposal for re-verification of the final draft NRC, among others.

The NRC is being updated in Assam to solve the problem of illegal influx.

Of the 3.29 crore applicants, 2.89 crore names had appeared in the final draft NRC published on July 30. The 40.70 lakh citizens whose names were left out, can file claims for inclusion in the updated NRC.

The claims and objections period opened on September 25 and will end on December 15. Around six lakh people have submitted their claims for inclusion in the NRC so far. The committee members met Cachar deputy commissioner S. Lakshmanan at his office here around 1pm and submitted the memorandum. They also had a discussion with Lakshmanan on NRC-related issues.

The memorandum says since panchayat elections in Assam are scheduled on December 5 and 9 and the counting will be held on December 12, most government officials, including officials of NRC seva kendras (NSKs), are involved in election-related duties. Because of absence of staff in government offices and NSKs, people trying to file claims are struggling to collect the necessary documents and, hence, may not be able to submit their claims in time.

The memorandum also alleges that officials in some NSKs are reluctant to receive the application forms and unnecessarily raise incriminatory objections and urges the authority to take necessary steps at the earliest and receive application forms for claims with whatever documents are provided by the applicants.

The organisations also said they suspect that the demand raised by some organisations for re-verification of the final draft NRC was a conspiracy against linguistic minorities and had been raised by a section of political forces to create animosity among the state’s communities. Committee chairman Tapodhir Bhattacharjee, general secretary Sadhan Purkayastha and members Sanat Koiri, Subrata Nath and Shanti Kumar Singh were present at the meeting.

Assam BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass had said on Sunday that the government has urged the Supreme Court to extend the deadline for submission of claims in view of the panchayat polls.