On September 19, the Supreme Court in Delhi directed the NRC authorities to re-evaluate the claims of those who were left out, giving them another opportunity to prove their citizenship
The first appeals of the four million people omitted from National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the northeastern Indian state of Assam were filed on Tuesday, Indian media outlets reported.
The NRC updating process is intended to identify “illegal immigrants” residing in the state, but the final draft of the census published on July 30 included the names of only 28.9 million people from a total of 32.9 million applicants.
On September 19, the Supreme Court in Delhi directed the NRC authorities to re-evaluate the claims of those who were left out, giving them another opportunity to prove their citizenship.
Around 2,500 NRC offices in Assam will receive claims and objections while over 20,000 NRC employees have been engaged for the process.
The claims filing began a day after the Assam Legislative Assembly witnessed heated exchanges on the first day of its autumn session on Monday, as opposition legislators launched a scathing attack on NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela.
“Hajela’s whimsical decisions had excluded many Bengalis from the draft NRC, driving some of them to suicide,” Indian National Congress party’s legislator Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha said.
“The state government should take action against him.”
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Another Congress legislator, Nurul Huda, said people declared “non foreigner” by tribunals had become victims of unnecessary harassment by being served foreigner notices.
“There should be an end to such harassment of genuine Indian citizens in the name of the detection of illegal migrants,” Huda said.
Congress legislators criticized Hajela even for suggesting to India’s Supreme Court that five of the 15 admissible documents for the claims and objections exercise should be dropped.
“Hajela has submitted a confidential report in a sealed envelope to the apex court for exclusion of the five documents,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said.
“The State government has not yet been able to access the report since the apex court has instructed Hajela not to share any information pertaining to the NRC update with any executive, legislative or judicial authority of the state without prior permission from the court.”
Patowary said the state government has also urged the court to share the report since law and order is a state subject and NRC is a “very sensitive issue which is connected with matters of law and order”.
Another Congress legislator, Abdul Khaleque, said his party would support a state government resolution calling for Hajela’s removal.