Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary on Thursday, presented district-wise National Register of Citizens (NRC) data in the Assam Assembly. The data suggested that most people living in districts on the India-Bangladesh border have been included in the citizenship list, while many in districts with a high population of indigenous people have been left out.
According to the data, more than 90 per cent of the names in four districts Dhubri (91.78 per cent), Karimganj (92.33 per cent), Hailakandi (91.96 per cent) and South Salmara (92.78 per cent) have been included in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) list. The Muslim population in Dhubri was 79.67 per cent, and in Karimganj was 56.36 per cent, according to Census 2011. South Salmara was carved out of Dhubri in 2016.
On the other hand, the number of excluded people from “districts where indigenous people live, like Karbi Anglong, the figure is 14.31 per cent and in upper Assam’s Tinsukia, where sons of the soil have been living for ages, this figure is 13.25 per cent,” Patowary said in a reply to a Zero Hour notice in the Assembly.
Government Calls For Reverification Of NRC Data
Following the release of data, the Assam government has called for re-verification of NRC data. It said that the report “suggested wrongful inclusions and exclusions in the NRC”.
Patowary asserted that the same data was presented to the Supreme Court but the court denied to take cognisance of the matter. “We had presented the same data and arguments to the Supreme Court earlier but the court had not taken cognisance. When members of the Assembly were discussing the issue today during Zero Hour, I presented before the Assembly the data and the arguments. Areas close to the borders have registered high inclusion rates whereas certain areas where indigenous communities live have registered high exclusion,” he told The Indian Express.
Last month, the Centre and the State Government had moved to Supreme Court for 20 per cent re-verification in districts closer to the Bangladesh border and 10 per cent re-verification in other districts.
Lack of Coordination
Following the centre’s appeal, NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela, in a report said that re-verification of 27 per cent or 8 million people has already been done, which is higher than the government’s demand of 20 per cent.
However, Patowary said, “His claim is irrelevant as he had not taken the people of Assam into confidence while carrying out the 27 per cent re-verification as claimed.” Patowary slammed the NRC State Coordinator for keeping the State and Central governments in the dark.
Several BJP MLAs demanding re-verification said that the whole process is left in the hands of one person. BJP MLA Shiladitya Dev pointed out that there is no coordination between the NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela and the centre and state governments.
“The entire process is left in the hands and mercy of one person who is the state coordinator of the NRC. On the one hand, the Centre and state government want at least 20 per cent re-verification in the districts of Assam bordering Bangladesh but State Coordinator says he has already done 27%. This proves there is no coordination between the government and the NRC work, which is dangerous for our democracy,” he said.