Ground Report | New Delhi: Assam’s NRC published in August; A Foreigners Tribunal in Assam has said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on August 31, 2019 is the ‘final NRC’. However, the Registrar General of India (Registrar General) has not notified it yet. The tribunal in Karimganj district, declaring a person as an Indian citizen, said that national identity cards are yet to be issued “but there is no doubt that this NRC published in 2019 is the final NRC”.
Shishir Dey, Member (affiliated) of Foreigners Tribunal-II, Karimganj, made these remarks during the hearing of the ‘D Voter’ (doubtful voter) case against Bikram Singha of Jamirala village under Patherkandi police station in the district.
At present, he has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking re-verification in some cases which is pending. On the other hand, an NGO, in a petition filed in the Supreme Court, has alleged misuse of Rs 360 crore in the exercise of updating the NRC.
Assam’s NRC published in August
An Assam tribunal in an important judgment on Monday said that the list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on August 31, 2019, is final. But the National Registrar General of Population has not notified it yet. The tribunal located in Karimganj district of Assam declared a person as an Indian citizen and said that even though the national identity card has not been issued yet. But there is no doubt that the NRC published in Assam in 2019 is final.
Member of Tribunal-2, Shishir De, while settling the case of ‘D Voter’ i.e. doubtful voter registered against Bikram Singh of Karimganj district, considered NRC as final. The case was registered under the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1999.
In the order issued by the tribunal, in this case, it has been said that from the inclusion of Singh’s name in the final NRC, it is clear that he has a relationship with other family members. However, his citizenship could not be established legally as the matter was pending in the tribunal.
Bikram Singh currently works in Bangalore. He had given many proofs before the tribunal to prove his Indian citizenship. In this, apart from proof of his father’s job in the Indian Air Force, land in the name of his grandfather in 1968, copies of the NRC list, voter list, and Aadhar card were also given. After seeing all the evidence, the tribunal said that we believe that Bikram is not a foreigner, but an Indian citizen.
The Assam government has been continuously demanding that 10 to 20 percent of the people who have appeared for the correction of the NRC list should be re-verified. Since the publication of the final list, all the organizations of the state have been demanding its dismissal, calling it flawed. This matter is pending in the Supreme Court.
In the year 2019, 19 lakh people were excluded in the list of NRC released under the supervision of the Supreme Court. These included about five and a half lakh Hindus and more than 11 lakh Muslims. The then state coordinator of NRC, Prateek Hajela, then called it the final list of NRC. But later the Assam government, considering this list as wrong, blamed Hajela for the mistake in it.
The 19 lakh people who were excluded from the list of NRC have not yet received the copy of the order of eviction. As a result, they are not able to challenge this decision in foreign tribunal.
It is because of the questions arising on the list that the Registrar General of India has not notified the NRC of Assam yet. As a result, the whole matter hangs in balance. Meanwhile, the ruling BJP in the state has dismissed the NRC as flawed. The party has said to start this entire exercise afresh.
future in limbo
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, after assuming power on May 10, had said that his government wants to re-verify 20 percent of the names in the border districts and 10 percent in the rest of the districts. The state’s NRC convener Hitesh Dev Sarma had also filed a petition in the Supreme Court to remove the errors in the final list. The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed the appeals of the Center and the Assam government seeking permission to re-verify. (Assam’s NRC published in August)
As the final list of NRC has not been notified, it is yet to get legal validity. As a result, the Aadhar card of the people included in this list has not been made. The Supreme Court had said in its direction that only those who will be part of the final NRC will get the Aadhar card. But the list that has come out at the moment is not final.
Political observers say that the exercise to update the ARC has so far proved to be meaningless and only adding to the headache of the people. The people involved in this have also not been able to get the necessary documents like an Aadhar card. On the other hand, those who are out of this list are not even able to challenge this decision. For now, all eyes are on the Supreme Court’s decision. But when that decision will come, no one is in a position to tell anything concrete about it.