Names of at least 80 per cent of Garo people, mostly men, of Hatighopa village under Balijana Development Block in Lower Assam’s Goalpara district are missing from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
According to sources, the names of people, mostly male, who have shifted from Meghalaya to stay with their wives following the matrimonial culture of the community, have not been listed in the final draft NRC published on July 30, 2018.
The village, which is 23 kilometres from here, is home to 130 houses and as per 2011 census, the population of the village is 269.
Among the 269 villagers, 49% are male and 51% are female.
The village is dominated by 97% Garo tribal people.
Most of the girls have married people from neighbouring Meghalaya, who are called ‘jamai’.
However, these ‘jamais’ or son-in-laws did never feel the necessities of documents to prove their national identity.
As the call for filling up forms for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) came in Assam, they failed to register their names as their names are not available in the NRC of 1951.
Moreover, technically, Meghalaya State was born in the year 1972, thus it failed to provide documents to its citizens prior to that period.
When asked about the possible fate post-publication of the final NRC, the Garo villagers expressed hope that both the Assam and Meghalaya Governments would do something solid to solve the issue.
“We are sons of the soil. We are not foreigners, so we are not worried,” remarked a man whose name has been left out in the final draft NRC.
Commenting on the problem, Leena Sangma, a local Anchalik Panchayat chairperson, said, “This is a cultural problem and we cannot let our people suffer because of having no documents. Organisations should come forward to solve the problem of these villagers.”