Journalist, social activists express concern over ‘fake’ NRC objections

PTI, May 22, 2019, 3:56 PM IST

Guwahati: A group of people in Assam on Wednesday expressed concern over “false” objections raised by persons with “vested interests” to “harass genuine Indian citizens”, whose names have appeared in the draft NRC.

Complaints have been raised by persons and groups with “vested interests” against “genuine” citizens who have established lineage dating back to early 19th century, claimed journalist and convenor of rights body, Centre for Justice and Peace, Zamsher Ali.

Objections have been filed against Ali’s seven-year-old daughter and the “entire family, tracing its lineage to the same legacy data, has to be present at the NRC Seva Kendra to prove her citizenship”, he said.

The complainants do not even appear before the authorities during the time of hearing of their pleas, the journalist alleged. “It is a concerted effort to ensure that names of genuine Indian citizens are deleted from the final NRC, scheduled to be released on July 31,” he said.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) aims to separate “genuine” citizens from “illegal immigrants”. The complete draft of the register, published in July, 2018, had excluded 40.07 lakh names out of the 3.29 crore applicants.

A window ending December 31, 2018, was provided for those who wanted to file claims for re-inclusion. Within this same period, people who suspected that foreigners have made their way to the list were also allowed to file their objections.

The final list is slated to be released by July 31. Objections have also been also filed against the inclusion of the name of Hara Kumar Goswami, a social activist of Rampur village in Barpeta district.

“There is no history of migration in our village but objections have been filed against five persons, including me, mainly because we highlight the problems being faced by people struggling to establish their citizenship, and also those who have been declared as D-voters”, Goswami said.

Echoing similar sentiment, researcher and social activist, Syeda Mehjabeen Rahman, said, “Objections are filed randomly and in my case, it has been filed against me and my uncle.” She also alleged that authorities of the NRC Seva Kendras were “in league” with the complainants providing them with the Application Receipt Number (ARN) of the applicants. “It is mandatory for a complainant to mention the Application Receipt Number (ARN) of the person, against whom the objection is being filed.

“But the ARN is known only to the applicants and the authorities at the Seva Kendras,” Rahman said. Student leader and writer Ashraful Hussain, whose five-year-old niece has been served with an objection notice, said, “The entire NRC exercise is being conducted under the supervision of the Supreme Court, but the guidelines of the apex court are being flouted at the ground level. “We are not against the NRC but we want an inclusive list, in which the names of all genuine Indian citizens are included.” He said.

The opposition Congress in the state had claimed in a memorandum, submitted to the District Registrar of Citizen’s Registration in Korajhar, that “fictitious” persons with ulterior motive were raising complaints and objections, based on which the authorities were issuing notices to “genuine” citizens. A copy of the memorandum was sent to NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela.

Assuring the people of all possible help during the claims and objection verification process, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had said early this week, “The entire NRC process is monitored and supervised by Supreme Court in a very transparent manner and the state government is extending full support to ensure that no genuine Indian citizen is left out of the final NRC.”

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