“Major irregularities” have been detected in the lists of the National Registry of Citizens in Assam and a comprehensive re-verification should be conducted, the state’s NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma has sought in a petition filed in the Supreme Court. The irregularities, he said, have been detected in the final draft as well as the supplementary list. While ineligible names were included, many eligible names have also been excluded, he said in his petition.
The draft citizen’s list of August 2019 had left out 19 lakh people. Most are those who did not provide adequate documents to prove their citizenship claims, officials had said.
State leaders of the BJP have been demanding re-verification since the lists were published. Himanta Biswa Sarma, who took the oath as the state’s Chief Minister this week, had tweeted, “The Names of many Indian citizens who migrated from Bangladesh as refugees prior to 1971 have not been included in the NRC because authorities refused to accept refugee certificates”.
“Many names got included because of manipulation of legacy data as alleged by many,” he added.
After taking oath, Mr Sarma had said the state will plead for a 20 per cent re-verification at least in districts bordering Bangladesh and 10 per cent overall re-verification in other districts.
In his petition, NRC coordinator Mr Sarma has said re-verification should be conducted under the supervision of a monitoring committee, preferably represented by the respective District Judge, District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police.
“Several serious, fundamental and substantial errors have crept into the whole process of updating the NRC in Assam. This has vitiated the entire exercise and the present draft and the supplementary list for inclusion & exclusion of NRC that has been published is not free from errors,” read petition in the top court, a copy of which is available with NDTV.
The petition also said it is in the interest of the nation that a correct NRC is prepared. “Assam shares a very strategic international border. Therefore, for the territorial integrity, internal peace and stability of the nation,” the NRC coordinator contended.
So far, the verification process has helped in the detection of only forged documents, he said, and not any manipulation or manufactured secondary document used to procure the main document.
For example, a name in the electoral roll may be verified through back-end verification, the petition argued. But office verification cannot detect whether it was entered fraudulently with the help of forged or manipulated documents.
“This is because there had been no back-end verification in the preparation of electoral rolls,” the petition read. “The Office Verification process could however be still a very effective tool for verification if it was properly and effectively combined with the Family Tree Verification process,” it added.
The NRC coordinator has also pleaded that in “Original Inhabitants” category and “Persons from other States” category, several errors have been detected.
Amid countrywide protests over NRC, the Centre said the people left out would not be declared illegal immediately. They had the option of appealing to Foreigners’ Tribunals and later, the courts with financial help from the state, Union minister Amit Shah had said.