New Delhi: With the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam just a fortnight away, the Centre and the state government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court for re-verification of 20% of draft data. According to a leading daily, they have claimed that discrepancies, like the inclusion of illegal migrants and exclusion of Indian citizens, had been noticed in the draft. (Also read: NRC Additional Draft Out, Nearly 1 L People to File Claims to Prove Citizenship)
Even as July 31 is the deadline for the publication of NRC, the Centre and Assam government have both reminded the apex court of how it had itself favoured a re-verification of 10% entries in August last year.
Another daily mentioned that the affidavit quotes a letter by NGO Sanchetan Nagrik Manch seeking an error-free NRC. It says the SNM has, on June 29, forwarded an appeal to the President signed by over “25 lakh indigenous Indian citizens of Assam” for an error-free NRC.
The CJI said, “NRC state coordinator (Prateek Hajela) has also filed a report. But the deadline for publication of final NRC is July 31.” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that if the applications could be listed before the deadline, the government would explain the need for re-verification of draft NRC data.
Meanwhile, the two applications by the Centre and Assam have made identical prayers, “Pass an order directing 20% sample re-verification of names included in the final draft NRC in the districts of Assam bordering Bangladesh and 10% sample re-verification of names included in the final draft NRC in the remaining districts. Pass appropriate directions thereby fixing the place for sample re-verification at a place not being in the vicinity of initial NRC verification so as to rule out possibility of local influences, bias, threat etc.”
According to the Assam government, many original inhabitants of the state found their names excluded as they lacked documents and did not even apply for inclusion in NRC. As against this, many of those detected and declared to be foreigners by tribunals had been included in the draft NRC. Not just that, many of those determined to be foreigners were working as NRC officers, the state government claimed.
It pointed a finger at NRC officials, alleging that they included foreigners in the register in exchange for bribes, and pointed out that while districts bordering Bangladesh had recorded a higher rate of inclusion, those dominated by original inhabitants had witnessed a higher rate of exclusion.
NRC’s final draft, published in August last year, had excluded over 40 lakh people. The state NRC coordinator’s office has received 36.2 lakh applications for inclusion of names, and another 2 lakh applications seeking exclusion of names.
Meanwhile, ‘Assam Public Works’, the NGO on whose petition the Supreme Court started monitoring NRC work six years ago, has also filed an application for 100% re-verification of names included in the final draft in 22 districts of the state while highlighting the arrest of two NRC officials, who were seeking bribe from an applicant.