R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, July 11 - With less than a month to go for the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), the State and Central Governments have prayed before the Supreme Court for 20 per cent reverification of names included in the draft of the NRC in the districts bordering Bangladesh and 10 per cent in other districts.
In an affidavit submitted before the Supreme Court on July 8, the Assam Government prayed that there should be 20 per cent reverification of the names included in the draft NRC in the districts bordering Bangladesh where the incidence of illegal migration is higher and also in the districts which reported higher population growth than the State average. The State Government also prayed for 10 per cent sample reverification in the remaining districts of the state.
The State Government requested the Apex Court to appoint or entrust Class I officers of the rank of Circle Registrar of Citizenship Registration or above from a different district, who are well versed with the NRC updating process for reverification. The Government further requested the Court for fixing the place for sample reverification at a place not being in the vicinity of the initial NRC verification to rule out the possibility of local influence, bias, threat etc. The State Government has also prayed for modifying the date of publication of the final NRC from July 31 to any future date as deemed fit by the Supreme Court.
The Government of India, on its part, had submitted a petition before the Supreme Court with the same prayers on July 7.
Meanwhile, commenting on the prayers of the State and Central Governments, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said that the people of Assam wanted an NRC free from names of foreign nationals and “we have full faith that we will get a correct NRC under the supervision of the Supreme Court.”
Bhattacharya pointed out that the process of updating the NRC is being monitored by the Supreme Court, the Government machinery , which included officers and employees of the Government, were used to carry out the job. He said that with their affidavits, the State and Central Governments have admitted the fact that the Government machinery failed to carry out the job properly. He further questioned whether the Government officials engaged in the job failed to strictly implement the orders of the Supreme Court, which forced the Government to put forward such prayers before the Court.
The AASU chief adviser further pointed out that during the process of submission of claims and objections on the draft NRC, the Government, on its own, could have filed objections on inclusion of any name in the draft, which was not done. He also alleged that even during the process of updating the NRC, the Government had transferred key officials, which also affected the process.