The leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia, has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to admit a writ petition (No WP (C) 1047 of 2018) filed by a retired, decorated soldier of the Indian Army, Bir Bahadur Thapa, and seven other residents of Assam seeking directives to ensure that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) enables genuine Indian citizens to uphold their citizenship after being omitted for “superfluous reasons” from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on July 30 last.
Apart from Morigaon-based Bir Bahadur Thapa, the other petitioners who have been excluded from the draft NRC include another retired Indian soldier Ajmol Hoque of Boko. Mohammed Harun Ali alias Dipak Deka of Golaghat is an adopted child with no linkage document of his biological parents. Haripad Biswas of Nazira had submitted the Certificate of Registration issued in the name of his father by the Agartala-based registration authority in 1956. Chan Mia of Chaygaon has been declared as an Indian citizen at a Foreigners Tribunal on two separate occasions.
Guwahati-based Sushil Kumar Paul, a retired teacher, was excluded merely because his father’s name was erroneously typed as ‘Burmud’ Paul instead of Kumud Paul in the legacy data document. The names of the three minor children of Sayed Ali of Chaygaon have been placed in the ‘on hold’ category in the draft NRC on the ground of their parent(s) facing trial as suspected foreigners, which is “untrue”. A student of the BA course under Gauhati University, Samiron Nessa of Chaygaon, has been excluded on the ground that she is a ‘Declared Foreigner’, which is “similarly false”.
Saikia said admission of the petition by the Supreme Court has “infused new hope among those genuine citizens whose names have been omitted from the draft NRC”. The Opposition leader expressed the hope that the stand taken by the Supreme Court in the time to come will enable “lakhs of genuine citizens to secure justice”.