Group slams Hajela over NRC

A Bengali organisation of Assam has accused National Register of Citizens (NRC) state coordinator Prateek Hajela of conspiring to exclude Bengalis from the updated register.

By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Guwahati
  • Published 19.09.18
  •  
Santanu Mukherjee in Guwahati on Tuesday. Picture by Pankaj Kumar Sarma

Guwahati: A Bengali organisation of Assam has accused National Register of Citizens (NRC) state coordinator Prateek Hajela of conspiring to exclude Bengalis from the updated register.

Sara Asom Bangali Oikyo Moncho on Tuesday demanded Hajela's resignation in view of ruling and Opposition parties opposing the proposal submitted by him in the Supreme Court not to accept five of the 15 documents earlier listed as admissible for inclusion of names in the NRC during the claims and objections process. "It is a conspiracy by Hajela to exclude the names of Bengalis from the NRC," Moncho president Himadri Roy said.

Moncho general secretary Santanu Mukherjee said the Bengali United Forum of Assam - a common platform of 14 Bengali organisations of the state - will move the Supreme Court against the proposal submitted by Hajela.

He said nearly 25 lakh Bengalis living in different parts of the state have been excluded from the draft NRC.

According to him, they will face problems in including their names in the final NRC by filing claims if the five documents are not accepted. "We oppose this proposal and demand its immediate withdrawal," Mukherjee said.

The five documents that Hajela sought to be excluded are the 1951 NRC, voter lists upto March 24, 1971, citizenship certificates, refugee registration certificates and ration cards issued prior to March 24, 1971, which is the cut-off date fixed by the Assam Accord for detection and deportation of illegal migrants from the state.

Both the BJP and the Congress, besides a number of other organisations had lashed out at Hajela for submitting the proposal in the apex court. The central and state government are likely to oppose this proposal in the Supreme Court on Wednesday when the NRC case will come up for hearing.

Mukherjee said Hindu Bengalis in the state are subjected to harassment by being labelled as "D" (doubtful) and by non-inclusion of their names in the draft NRC.

"The border branch of Assam police are randomly serving D-voter notices to Bengali-speaking people and most of these cases are happening in districts like Chirang, Baksa, Bongaigaon, Barpeta and Udalguri. Even family members of people whose name figures in the 1951 NRC were branded D-voters," he said.

Members of the Moncho will go on a token hunger strike from 8am to 6pm at Millennium Park in front of Barpeta deputy commissioner's office to protest against "harassment" meted out to Bengalis.