The much-anticipated second and final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on Monday with 2.9 crore names out of the total 3.29 crore applicants in Assam verified as citizens of India.
Assam is the only state in the country to have a register of its citizens. The reason being the issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh, a Muslim country. It’s been a hot button topic, with some groups claiming they are voting illegally and changing the demographic of the state.
As many as 3.29 crore people submitted documents to prove their citizenship. The first draft of the NRC, which was published in December last year, listed 1.9 crore people. With the final draft, that number went up to 2.9 crore names.
That means the names of 40.07 lakh applicants did not find a place in the historic document, which is proof of Assamese identity.
The reason this is still called a ‘final draft’ and not a ‘final list’ is because those whose names aren’t on it can appeal. The NRC coordinator Sailesh, who released the final draft in Guwahati on Monday, emphasised that “this is just a draft, and not the final list, the people who are not included can make claims and objections.”
He further said those whose names were on the first listed but not in final draft can also appeal. ” Every person whose name was in the first draft but is missing from final draft will be given an individual letter to file claim for her/his non-inclusion during claims and objections.”
“The process for making claims and objections will begin on August 30 and continue till September 28. Adequate and ample scope will be given to people for making objections. No genuine Indian citizen should have any fear,” said Sailesh.
Following the release of the draft, the Congress party’s Assam chief expressed his dissatisfaction. “40 lakh names ineligible is a very high figure and very surprising. There are lot of irregularities in the report. We will raise this issue with the Govt and in the Parliament. Political motive of BJP is also behind this,” said Ripun Bora, Assam Congress chief.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) was also unhappy. “The central government has intentionally eliminated more than 40 lakh religious and linguistic minorities from NRC which will have serious ramifications on the demography of different states adjoining Assam. PM (Narendra Modi) should come to house and clarify it,” said SS Roy of the TMC
Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Monday sought to allay the fears of those whose names aren’t on the list. “No coercive action will be taken against anyone, hence there is no need for anyone to panic. Some people are unnecessarily trying to create an atmosphere of fear. This is a completely impartial report. No misinformation should be spread. This is a draft and not the final list,” said Rajnath.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal congratulated the people of the state for the successful publication of the NRC saying, “the historic day will remain etched in their memories forever.” Sonowal also urged people not to panic if their names did not appear in NRC draft as genuine Indian citizens would get “full opportunity” to make claims and objections.
Still, Assam is tense, very tense, on Monday. The Army is on standby, over 22,000 paramilitary troops have been sent to Assam and adjoining states and. “NRC is a national programme. It is the duty and obligation of every Indian citizen to maintain peace in the wake of its publication. I appeal to all sections of the society to desist from making any inflammatory or communal remarks,” said Sonowal. >