52-year-old Moni Saha is a worried lot these days.
Saha, a resident of Lalganesh area of Guwahati failed to find her and her family’s name in the final National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The family had attended several hearings since the process to update the NRC began, yet they failed to make it to the final list.
“We had all the valid documents and yet our names are not in the NRC,” she said while speaking to Northeast Now.
“They called us for several hearings and each time we clarified things by submitting documents. I don’t know what is the problem,” she added.
While Moni hails from Laluk in Lakhimpur district her husband hails from Guwahati and after marriage, she has been residing in the city.
“My grandfather had titled land documents of 1965 in Lakhimpur,” she said.
“This indicates that my grandfather came to Assam before 1971 which is the cut off date,” she further added.
“So how can they exclude me from the NRC?” questioned Moni.
Echoing similar sentiments, Manoranjan Seal (73) said he is worried as the family is excluded from the final NRC.
The five-member family of Seal had a bitter struggle for the past few years to enlist their names in the NRC.
But it seems, the struggle is not over yet.
“I hail from Tripura but I came to Assam in 1970 with a hope of bettering my life,” said Seal.
“Many people migrated to Assam those days as there were opportunities here,” he further said.
“I had registered my name with the Employment Exchange of the government of Assam on March 13, 1970, and I got a job at the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in 1972,” Seal added.
Seal got married in Assam after joining FCI and has been living here since then.
His three sons—Pradip Seal, Mrinal Kanti Seal and Mithu Seal were all born and brought up here, yet their names did not figure in the NRC.
The Sahas and Seals are two Bengali Hindu families who are among the 1.9 million people excluded from the NRC published on August 31.
Frustrated for failing to make their names enlisted in the NRC despite having valid documents, these families are now looking at an uncertain future.
“We have given valid and legal documents. But still, our names are not there. What do we do now?” Seal said.
In Guwahati’s Lalganesh area alone, there are several Hindu Bengali families who have failed to make it to the NRC for reasons unknown to them.
The excluded people now have to approach the Foreigners’ Tribunals to prove their Indian citizenship.
If they fail to do so then they can move to higher courts within 120 days of time.
Fear of becoming statelessness looms large on them if they fail to prove their citizenship within the stipulated time.
Although these people are not seemingly scared yet the reports of detention of many people worries some of them.
Reports of Assam government setting up ten detention camps for those who fail to establish their citizenship is adding on to their worries.
Allegedly, BJP had polarized the Hindu Bengali votes in Assam in their favour ahead of the recent elections by assuring to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
CAB sought to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The government failed to pass the CAB in the outgoing Parliament earlier this year.
Several top BJP leaders including PM Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah had assured to bring it back with some amendments.