File Image of Assam NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela.

The Coordinator for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Prateek Hajela, has alleged that there are attempts to include illegal migrants in the list.

A report appearing in NDTV stated that the NRC authorities had decided to drop five key papers from the list of 15 documents through which a person could file their claims for inclusion in the citizens’ register. These documents would help people prove that they or their family were residing in Assam before 1971, the cut-off year for the NRC.

Mr Hajela has alleged in his report that those who are objecting to the exclusion of these five documents, were trying to bring illegal migrants into the final NRC.

The report further quoted Mr Hajela as saying, “As NRC claims and objections are the last chance for illegal migrants, these actions (demand for inclusion of the five documents) are actually a well-planned attempt to get the illegal migrants into the NRC,” he alleged.

The Supreme Cout had told Mr Hajela to give a presentation to the Union Government and other stakeholders on why the five documents were dropped. These five documents are – extract of the 1951 NRC, copy of electoral rolls up to March 24, 1971, citizenship and refugee registration certificates up to March 24, 1971, and ration cards.

“The number of genuine persons practically getting affected by the trimming down of the documents from 15 to 10 will be very less. On the other hand, some lawmakers and political parties have been canvassing very hard for the inclusion of these documents,” he further added.

According to him, these attempts could be seen during the recent session of the Assam Legislative Assembly. He went on to suggest that the demand is the result of “political posturing” and didn’t stem from any desire to protect “genuine citizens from among the 37.5 lakh rejected applications”.

Mr Hajela’s report could put many parties in a spot of bother – the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Opposition Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) have demanded that all the initial 15 documents be allowed as a basis for filing claims and objections.

The NRC Coordinator also claimed that the participation of people in the claims and objection phase of NRC has been rather low since people are not sure if more documents will be trimmed from the list or added since the Standard Operative Procedure (SOP) has not been spelt out by the Supreme Court. According to NRC sources, only 26,973 persons filled forms that they have been left out of the list, out of a total of around 40 lakhs. The claims and objection phase is open till November.

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