The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday said they do not trust the updated National Register of Citizens, specifically prepared for Assam, and appealed the party governments, both at the centre and the state, to make a nationwide NRC.
IMAGE: People stand in a queue to check their names on the final list of the National Register of Citizens outside a Gaon Panchayat office in Pavakati village, Morigoan. Photograph: PTI Photo
Addressing a press conference, BJP Assam president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said that the government will bring in a legislation to safeguard the Indian citizens if the Foreigners Tribunals deliver adverse judgements against the appeals.
“We do not trust this NRC. We are very unhappy. We appeal to the central and state governments to prepare a national level NRC,” he added.
The final NRC contains very small figure of exclusions compared to officially stated figures earlier, he said.
Dass claimed that former Congress Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia had given a figure of 30 lakh foreigners living in Assam in the assembly during his tenure from 1991-96.
“Then the Union Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal of the Congress stated in Rajya Sabha that two crore Bangladeshis had entered India and 50 lakh of them settled in Assam. Former Home Minister Indrajit Gupta also mentioned a figure of 42 Bangladeshis,” he added.
The final NRC was published on Saturday by excluding 19,06,657 persons. A total of 3,11,21,004 names were included out of 3,30,27,661 applicants.
In July last year, 40,07,707 people were excluded from the complete draft of the NRC. An additional 1,02,462 persons were included in June this year in the list of excluded persons, taking the total ineligible persons to 41,10,169 in the complete draft.
Dass said the party will keep a close watch on the process of appeal in the Foreigners Tribunals by the excluded persons and the judgements of the cases.
“If we see that FTs are delivering adverse judgements on the appeals by genuine Indian citizens, we will not wait for the entire 19 lakh cases to be disposed off. We will bring in legislation and make an act to protect them,” he asserted.
The BJP state chief informed that the party is getting reports from various districts about exclusions of indigenous people.
“As per our estimate, two lakh genuine Indians were left out who had applied. Then four lakh more did not appeal after their names were not included in the draft NRC,” he added.
Dass said many refugees coming to India before 1971 were not included and “names like Saha, Ganguly, Biswas etc were intentionally” excluded from the final version of the NRC, touted to be a proof of Assamese identity.
“Many people with forged certificates were included. The NRC authority did not verify them with the issuer. The government had all the records,” he claimed.
BJP also supported the government’s appeal in the Supreme Court of 20 per cent sample re-verification, but the NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela “lied in the SC that already 27 per cent verification took place” and the top court believed him.
Assam, which had faced influx of people from the then East Bengal since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC that was first prepared in 1951.
The NRC was updated with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for legitimate claim to Indian citizenship in the state.
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