40 lakh applicants excluded from NRC draft. What next?

Guwahati: As many as 40 lakh people among 3.29 crores applicants stood blankly with their citizenship’s uncertainty after the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was released yesterday in Guwahati.

And officials immediately sprung into action after panic spread among left out applicants. The officials had to issue a clarification on the same asking the left out applicants to file their claims from August 30 to September 28 and will not be deprived of rights, Indian Express reported.

The Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Mr Sailesh while addressing a news conference said: “28983677 people have been found eligible for inclusion in the draft NRC out of 32991384 applicants.”

‘“No genuine Indian citizen should have any fear or panic in regard to the filing of claims and objections. We will see that a person who lacks knowledge gets assistance. There will be modalities and ways where people can get some sort of assistance to fill up claim forms correctly. There will be an intensive campaign for that. Full justice will be meted out,” he said.

When Mr Sialesh was asked about the uncertainty of these 40 lakh applicants eligibility to vote, he replied that voting-related matters are dealt with different authorities and they are the responsible people to decide on this matter.

The Apex Court had earlier directed the updation process by the month of July, while this updated list has created havoc among applicants as well as the Parliament where Home Minister Rajnath Singh had asked the opposition not to polarize the sensitive issue.

“It will be improper to raise such allegations. It’s not the final NRC… Everyone will have full opportunity to file claims and objections as per provisions in law. Only after the disposal of claims and objections — for which the time frame will be decided by the Supreme Court — the final NRC will be published. Disposal will be by higher administrative authorities. Then, whoever is left, can go to the Foreigners Tribunal. Justice will be done to them,” he said.

Satyendra Garg- Joint Secretary in Ministry of Home Affairs also present during the release of the draft NRC, said that based on this draft, no ‘references’ will be sent to the foreign tribunals nor would anyone be sent to any detention camp.

The administration, he said, was committed to law and order.

Prateek Hajela, the NRC state coordinator who was directed to submit the completed draft within the stipulated time given by the Apex Court, said that nearly 2.48 lakh applicants among the 40 lakh names excluded from the list are kept on “hold” and belong to four categories: D-voters, descendants of D (doubtful)-voters (those who have drawn descendancy from D voters), people whose cases are pending at FTs and descendants of these persons, though he did not give details of district-wide exclusions saying the names would not be publicized for security reasons.

He said and those excluded from the list will get to know the reason for exclusion when they approach their NSKs (NRC Seva Kendra) August 7 onward.

Forms for the claims, objections and requests for correction will be available from August 7 at the NSKs and can be submitted from August 30 to September 28, he added.

The NRC of 1951 is now being updated in Assam to include the names of those persons (or their descendants) who appear in the NRC, 1951, or in any of the Electoral Rolls up to March 24, 1971 or in any one of the other admissible documents issued up to March 24, 1971.

“The exercise of NRC in its scale, size and complexity is unprecedented. It has no parallel in the country and perhaps in the world. The process has been completely transparent and fair and meticulously carried out,” Sailesh stated.

Officials from different districts did indicate a little about the applicants excluded. In Korora, Prabin Chandra Rabha said: “At the NSK level, we are not authorized to reveal the exact figure of people excluded at our NSK. Some people came and checked their status but a large number checked online or through SMS. There was no massive rush. From August 7, when people come to inquire why their names are not there, we will tell them.”

While an official in Sipajhar said at least 500-600 families have been left out of the list at his NSK.