In response to a representation by the Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM) coordinator Upamanyu Hazarika to the Registrar General of India (RGI), Sailesh and State Coordinator NRC, Prateek Hajela, on August 26 last, pointing out “discrepancies and infirmities” in the final draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), the RGI has sought a report from the State Coordinator of NRC in this regard, and has directed that it be submitted on a “priority basis”.
Hazarika said that the letter issued by Sanjay, Deputy Director General, Office of the RGI, New Delhi to the State Coordinator, NRC, a copy of which was also sent to him, on September 7 last, was received on Thursday.
Hazarika’s representation to the State Coordinator, NRC and the RGI had stated that there were “fundamental flaws” in the procedure adopted, which could not be corrected or rectified through the claims and objection process. “The flaws are institutional and intrinsic to the process and can be rectified only through reverification at the institutional level,” Hazarika said.
He further said that it was a matter of concern that though the “flaws and the discrepancies” were within the knowledge of the RGI and NRC authorities, however, they have chosen to keep silent and the draft list in the present form, if it became final, would include a large number of foreigners. The discrepancies and flaws pointed out by Hazarika include:
* Shortfall in numbers of those excluded, compared to official estimates of infiltrators.
* Border districts, showing the maximum increase in population having least exclusion in NRC, far below the State average of 12.15 per cent.
* Fundamental flaws at the institutional and verification level, by inclusion of a large number of foreigners, particularly from border districts, migrant-dominated areas in other districts.
* Inclusion of large number of declared foreigners by Foreigner Tribunals, in thousands in Dhubri alone, where paper work and field verification reports gave all clear for inclusion in draft NRC.
* Manorama Bewa declared foreigner by Tribunal and High Court, appeals before Supreme Court on admissibility of Gaon Panchayat Certificate, Combined Verification Report (CVR) gives all clear on documents and field verification, excluded only when an alert official detected 200 foreigners which DC Morigaon, admitted, have been included.
* Inclusion of persons, whose cases pending before Foreigner Tribunals, required to be excluded and in Dhubri alone 4,354 are included, where paper work and field verification reports gave all clear for inclusion in draft NRC.
* Inclusion of D-voters, required to be excluded.
* Field verification under Rule 3 (4) of Schedule, popularly known as District Magistrate Investigation Team (DMIT) for those whose records are not available shows glaring discrepancies:-
* Persons included only on the basis of statements of three neighbours identifying applicants, without any verification of either witnesses or documents.
*Village headman (gaonburah) and Panchayat certificates otherwise not List ‘B’ documents, accepted without complying with the requirement “the contents of the certificate are found to be established on due and proper enquiry and verification” (Supreme Court’s requirement).
* Newly established villages not in existence during 1951 or 1971, the certificates of Headman or Panchayat cannot have any value, nevertheless accepted.
* Fraud in changing the name of the legacy persons in List-‘A’, by mere statements
during field verification, to bring about identity of the original legacy person with that available in the linkage documents in List-‘B’.
* Field verification reports, were not subjected to any quality check beyond the circle level. While all documentation has been digitised, however, the field verification report at the time of preparation of the first draft under Rule 2(3) and Rule 3(4) i.e., DMIT investigation have not been digitised. This appears to be a fundamental flaw. It is believed that had there been quality check at the time of initial inclusion, this could have precluded large-scale inclusion of foreigners in the final draft.
* The sensitivities of border districts and migrant-dominated area have not been accounted for, with foreigners identifying citizen, or those from the same ethnic stock which have continuously objected and stalled identification process, best example being the stalling of the pilots NRC Project in Barpeta in 2010 by attacking and burning the Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) office.
These are a few of the “discrepancies and flaws” which were highlighted by Upamanyu Hazarika. The PVM has been demanding that 1951 be taken as the cut-off year.