GUWAHATI, Sept 7 - Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has called upon Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to ensure that the genuine Indian citizens, whose names have failed to appear in the final NRC, are not deprived of their dignity and right to life and liberty.
In a letter to the Supreme Court Chief Justice, the former Chief Minister said the “final NRC list has been rejected by almost all the political parties, social organisations, intellectuals and various youth organisations of the State.”
“My humble submission before you as you being the head of the Supreme Court of India to see (sic) that the genuine Indian citizens are not deprived of their dignity and right to life and liberty as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. The present situation is undoubtedly grave and unprecedented. In this situation, the people of Assam are looking forward to your kind intervention by (sic) reviewing the whole issue so that justice is given to them,” stated Tarun Gogoi.
He said that resentment has been expressed in every nook and corner of the State by all sections of the people of Assam irrespective of caste, creed and religion after publication of the final NRC.
“As you are aware that the final NRC was declared on August 31 as per your direction, wherein out of the 3,30,27,661 applicants, 3,11,21,004 numbers were included and 19,06,657 numbers were excluded. At the time of publication of the draft NRC, wherein 40 lakh people were excluded which (sic) created a lot of hue and cry as large numbers of genuine Indian citizens were left out. It was expected that the NRC authority would be more cautious and the final NRC list would be error-free, but unfortunately it has been found to be contrary (sic) as lakhs of people belonging to all communities and religion were excluded from the list which has created a lot of confusion and uncertainty among them,” stated the former Chief Minister.
He added, “I am also convinced today that the NRC authority headed by Prateek Hajela, State Coordinator, has not discharged his duty and responsibility efficiently and effectively as per your direction although more than 50,000 government officials were engaged (and) approximately Rs 1,200 crore was spent, along with time and energy at the cost of the developmental works of the State.”
He added that the Central and State governments have reacted in totally different manner to the final NRC.
“The most surprising fact is that the stand of the State government is contrary to the Government of India (sic) as expressed by Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Finance, Health, etc. and also by the ruling party (sic) State president Ranjeet Dass rejecting the final list and exposing its anomalies.
Moreover, the Central Government’s spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar has made the statement that the NRC update was statutory, transparent and a legal process, mandated by the Supreme Court and court-monitored exercise.
The State government also, if I am not wrong, is trying to blame the Supreme Court as they have been making allegations that they had their limitations due to interference of the Supreme Court while the Supreme Court was not the implementing authority, but the fact is that the Government of India was the implementing authority of the NRC,” said Tarun Gogoi.
He said that the entire episode points to total failure of the Government of India.
“Now the question arises about the fate of lakhs of people who were left out of the NRC final list and were asked to move to the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) to prove their citizenship and undergo all sorts of difficulties and hardships by dragging them to the courts not because of their fault, but due to the callousness and inefficiency of the NRC implementing authority.
It may be mentioned that even Army, police personnel, family members of freedom fighters, MLAs, former MLAs and family members of former President of Indian Late Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and thousands of examples (sic) of people who have all the documents, including Indian passports, have been left out,” said the former Chief Minister.
He added, “it is also amusing that the Home Department of the Government of India had made the announcement that those who are excluded are not foreigners or suspected foreigners. Since they are Indian citizens and have not yet been declared as foreigners, so should they go to the FTs is a big question (sic).
Another question arises about the fate of those people whose names were enlisted in the Voter List of 2019 under which the Lok Sabha elections were held in the country, including Assam, and the Voter List of 2019 was prepared by linking of 1966 Voter List where their names were included as Indian citizens. Since the list was prepared by the Election Commission of India, a constitutional body, how these people could be excluded from the NRC?” asked Tarun Gogoi.