From the ground: 40 lakh people excluded from draft NRC in Assam

Written by Zamser Ali | Published on: July 31, 2018

The much-awaited final draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on Monday, July 30, in Guwahati, Assam. Out of total 3,29,91,385 people who applied for inclusion in the updated NRC, 2,89,83,677 have been admitted, while 40,07,708 people have been excluded from the draft list. In a press conference held in Gauhati yesterday, Registrar General of India, Sailesh was at pains to say that those not in the list are not all foreigners.


All applicants will able to collect information regarding this from NRC Seva Kendras (NSK Centres) or from the NRC website. From August 31to September 28, any person whose name has been dropped from the updated draft NRC will able to file a claim and objections application. After proper hearings of the claim and objections applications, the final list of the updated NRC will be published.
 
Mr. Prateek Hajela, the State Coordinator of the NRC also spoke alongside Mr. Sailesh at the press conference, also re-iterated that out of the 40,07,708 persons –approximately 12 % of the total applicants who had filed claims before the NRC—dropped from this draft, are not all foreigners. In many cases, the Legacy Person of the applicants family has been dropped from the draft NRC, while all his siblings have been included. This sort of injustice, I believe, has not been done without knowledge of the Government. From Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to RGI Sri Sailesh, all are of the opinion that the latest draft is not the final updated NRC. All excluded applicants will have the opportunity to file claim and objections applications. This mammoth exercise, expected to be fair and Constitutional, has thrown up serious anomalies and while the rhetoric was in place at the press conference yesterday, there was a reluctance to even disclose how many of those excluded from the list were male, and how many female.
 
Although the draft of the NRC has been declared, the RGI and NRC State Coordinator declined to give facts and figures, such as how many male and female applicants have been excluded. Even the district-wise data for the number of people included and excluded from the NRC was not revealed. Unofficial sources indicate that of those excluded, 55% are female, and 45% are male.
 
It is evident that due to the hasty order of the State Coordinator of the NRC regarding weak documents, dated May 1, 2017, large numbers of women, minor boys and girls have been excluded from the updated draft NRC. Although the Supreme Court had allowed Panchayat certificates as linkage certificates, and the NRC State Coordinator was directed to examine their genuineness, the court directives have been violated by and large. Married women were directed to submit additional documents that were available before December 2015 as supporting documents for the Panchayat certificates. Due to this, large numbers of married women, minor girls and boys have been excluded.
 
Preliminary reports from the ground also suggest that though it was assumed that the updated NRC would largely affected the Muslim minority, ground reports indicate that large numbers of Bengali Hindus, especially from Dalit communities, some Indigenous Koch Rajbonshis, some sections of Nepali and other Indian labour and business class hailing from northern, western, and southern India, as well as large numbers of Muslims have been excluded from the updated draft NRC.