With just four days left for the publication of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal sought to allay fear saying “genuine” Indians missing from the citizenship register would get enough opportunities to incorporate their names.
“No one should have any apprehensions. If the name of a genuine Indian citizen is missing in the part draft of the NRC, he or she will get proper chance to incorporate it,” Sonowal told reporters. He also made it clear that the government would tolerate no violence.
“We have received central forces and they are being deployed across the State to ensure peace. No untoward incident will be allowed to take place,” he said.
A massive exercise to update the NRC is being carried out in Assam following a directive of the Supreme Court in 2005.
The apex court had ordered that the first draft of the NRC be published by December 31 after completing the scrutiny of over two crore claims along with that of around 38 lakh people whose documents were suspect.
Chief Minister Sonowal said 40,000 government officials, including deputy commissioners of the districts, sub divisional officers and circle officers, are involved in the massive exercise which has been going on in 6,500 NRC centres.
“The district administrations have been holding regular meetings with various socio-cultural, students’ organisations, senior citizens and writers seeking their help in peaceful publication of the part draft of the NRC. We hope the process will be completed smoothly,” he said.
Of the 3.28 crore applications submitted, there was confusion over the inclusion of 29 lakh people who had submitted certificates issued by ‘gram panchayats’ as proof of identity, after a Gauhati High Court order in February had deemed ‘panchayat’ certificates invalid, the officials said.
The NRC was last updated in Assam way back in 1951. Then, it had recorded 80 lakh citizens in the State. Since then, the process of identification of illegal immigrants in Assam has been debated and become a contentious issue in the State’s politics.