GUWAHATI, Aug 31 - Expressing dissatisfaction with the final NRC which was published today, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the updating process has turned out to be a futile exercise and blamed the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in the State for creating hurdles in the path of securing an error-free register.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune, Gogoi, who played a major role in initiating the NRC updating process, also said that names of all those people who figure in the voters’ list should have been included in the register.
“I am not at all happy. I wanted an error-free NRC and my government had taken the right steps in that direction. But since the BJP government took charge, they started creating one hurdle after another. BJP wants to keep alive the foreigners’ issue for the sake of political gains. They want to bring back the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB. They do not want an error-free NRC,” said the three-time chief minister.
He further said, “More than 19.06 lakh people have been left out of the NRC. What is their status? The NRC updating exercise was aimed at separating genuine Indian citizens from foreigners. Then what about those who have been left out of the final NRC? Are they Indians or foreigners? The government is now saying that such people have the option of approaching the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs). But only suspected foreigners are judged by the FTs. So, what was the NRC exercise for? Things are full of contradictions. There is absolute lack of clarity.”
He said that in an ideal and error-free NRC, all those excluded would have been automatically declared as foreigners.
Asked if he believes that the figure of 19.06 lakh excluded from the final NRC is a correct figure of the number of illegal immigrants, Gogoi said, “I do not believe that there are so many foreigners. But if they are foreigners, then why is the government advising them to approach the FT? This proves that the exercise has been futile. BJP did nothing other than hoodwinking the people. Anyway, I had suspicion since the day the BJP started talking about the CAB. The BJP government has done all this intentionally. They want to stoke passion among the people.”
He accused senior ministers and leaders of the ruling party of indulging in provocative and communal statements in the days leading to publication of the final NRC.
“I have been saying that all those who figure in the voters’ list, including the latest list, should have their names automatically included in the NRC. After all, who figures in a voters’ list? It is the only Indian citizens who have the right to exercise their franchise in elections,” Gogoi added.