By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi, 21 May: The All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) on Tuesday staged a sit-in demonstration to highlight discrepancies in the ongoing process of disposal of claims and objections of National Register of Citizens (NRC). It also alleged that the update process was not being conducted as per the Supreme Court’s instructions as well as the Standard Operating Procedure set by the Centre in November 2018. It submitted a memorandum to Home Secretary and The Registrar General of India.
It is to mention here that the Supreme Court has set July 30 as the deadline for publishing the complete, error-free NRC as the anger in Assam is growing after 2.5 lakh people included in draft citizens register face fresh hearings.
The ongoing process for preparation of NRC in the state of Assam which has been undertaken as per the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Of the 3.29 crore people who applied for inclusion in the updated NRC, 40.07 lakh were excluded. While 36 lakh of those left out had re-applied, about 3 lakh objections were filed against those who were included in the draft published in June 2018.
Talking to Muslim Mirror , former AAMSU president Azizur Rahman said this was being done to harass minorities. “According to sub-clause 3.2 of the Standard Operating Procedure, any person filing false objections is liable to be imprisoned up to five years and fined up to ₹50,000 under clause 17 of the Citizenship Act of 1955. Leave apart punishment, the NRC authorities are not providing the addresses and other details of the objectors in the notices to people whose citizenship is being doubted. This is against rules,” he added.
Appeals to NRC State coordinator Prateek Hajela for action against “whimsical” officials handling NRC service centres had fallen on deaf ears, it said.
AAMSU leader also alleged that the ground-level officers who head the NRC centres need to keep separate registers for claims (by people in NRC seeking corrections or changes) with complete details of each claimant and objector and they are not being told if this is being done.
The union also said the NRC authorities were calling people for hearing at short notice despite clause 5 of the Standard Operating Procedure making it clear that a notice should be served at least 15 days prior to hearing.
He pointed out that the Government of Assam constituted Cabinet Sub Committee in August 2010 and thereafter reconstituted from time to time for preparing the Modalities/SOP. The Cabinet Sub-Committee prepared the Modalities/SOP after threadbare discussions with All Assam Students Union (AASU), All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (AAMSU) and other stakeholders.
“The meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Committee was held on 04.07.2013 and the Modalities/SOP for NRC preparation was finalized as per decision taken in the meeting. Thereafter, the Government of Assam sent the Modalities/SOP on 05.07.2013 to the Central Government for doing the needful.”
Under the given facts and circumstances in the memorandum, AAMSU urged the authorities to direct the concerned officials
- To furnish the grounds of objection along with the notice as per Clause.5 of the Modalities/SOP approved by the Supreme Court on 01.11.2018;
- To reject the objections ex-parte at the threshold where the objectors remain absent in hearing;
iii. To reject the objections where the details as per protocol dated 31.12.2018 have not been furnished by the objectors;
- To furnish the names and addresses of objectors in the notice for hearing as well as to the person against whom such objection is made during the course of hearing;
- To arrange for DNA Test in connection with determination of parental linkage if necessity arises for enlisting each and every genuine Indian citizen in the Final NRC;
- To fix the hearing venues within reasonable distances of same localities of the persons who are being called for disposal of claims and objections;
vii. To accept the List-B/Linkage Documents issued after 31.08.2015 during the course of disposal of claims and objections in compliance with the Order dated 12.12.2018 passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court;
viii. To take all necessary steps so that not a single Indian Citizen is left out of Final NRC;
- To strictly follow the principle of natural justice during the course of disposal of claims and objections.
Sit-in dharana was also supported some other organizations including Social Democratic party of India (SDPI). SDPI vice president Advocate Mohammad Sharfuddin said it is a deep-rooted conspiracy to harass Muslims in Assam in order to weaken them politically. Many speakers said in the interest of natural justice, the chief justice of India should not hear the NRC cases as he belongs to same state.