2 years ago, on 31-Aug-2019, Assam NRC FINAL list was published .The story of the NRC since then should shame all stakeholders – by Aman Wadud
2 years ago,on this day, NRC FINAL list was published.
1.9ml people were excluded,they were supposed to receive rejection slips to challenge their exclusion. No one received any reasons for thr exclusions.
The story of the NRC since then should shame all stakeholders –
NRC was prepared under the strict monitoring of the SupremeCourt. Around 55,000 Assam govt employees executed the NRC exercise
From May 2016 ,BJP is in power in Assam, they continue to rule Assam after winning 2021 Assembly election, with “correct NRC” as one of its main agendas
In the 5 years long exercise, rigorous scrutiny and several rounds of verifications were carried out.
Hundreds and thousands of families were called for the hearings for verifications of their documents multiple times, often in faraway places from their residences.
The 2003 Rules also weaponized fellow citizens to file objections against applicants whose names were included in the draft list of the NRC. The official count says objections were filed against 1,87,633 applicants.
These objections were well orchestrated by a group of 30 ethnic organizations, barring 600 objections, all objections were filed on the last day. Objections were mostly filed against one community – from five years old to 80 years old, no one was spared.
300,000 objections to inclusion of people in Assam NRC filed on final day
Till Sunday, only 600 objections had been filed
People were asked to attend hearings at places that are 300-400 kms away with just 12 hrs of notice, some even less. At least 4 ppl died, several injured in 3-4 days of hearing in August 2019 while travelling to the hearing centres
Assam districts panic, notices at night for NRC hearings 300 km away
With the short deadline adding to the panic, and the government tight-lipped, villagers across the two districts hired vehicles to make the long travel, many of them for the first time in their lives.
Four dead as thousands rush across Assam for fresh NRC hearings
The fresh set of orders triggered panic as people boarded buses, hired SUVs and multi-purpose vehicles and pick-up trucks to reach towns like Jorhat, Charaideo, Sivasagar and Golaghat.
“NOT HAPPY WITH NRC”
The Complete Draft of the NRC was published on 30th of July 2018. 40,007,707 applicants were excluded – given an opportunity to file ‘Claims’.
The NRC was initiated on the false perception of large-scale illegal migration to Assam from Bangladesh.
The groups who wanted the NRC were of the view that there are 5-7 million illegal migrants in Assam.
They had expectations that at least 5 million people who they regard as ‘illegal migrants’ will be excluded from the NRC and stripped of their citizenship.
But the Complete Draft of NRC totally busted the false perceptions and shattered misplaced expectations as ‘only’ 4 million people were excluded from the draft – The Final NRC was waiting to shatter all dreams to see millions of people suffer.
All of a sudden, the pro-NRC groups who wanted NRC at any cost, started discrediting the NRC – claiming that the complete draft of NRC is not fair and a large number of illegal migrants have been included in it – Another assembly election was safe to be won on this issue.
After five long years of ruthless scrutiny and verifications, the Final List of NRC was published on 31st August 2019. The number of people excluded were 19,06,657 – Far ‘less’ than the ‘Great Expectations.
The number of exclusions triggered international outrage, to quell such outrage; the Government of India defended the NRC calling it fair, non-discriminatory and scientific.
The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, on 2nd September , 2019 issued an extensive statement, it stated
- NRC is a fair process based on scientific methods
-It is a non-discriminatory process, which leaves no room for bias and injustice.
The statement also said, “Anyone excluded from the list at this stage has a right to file an appeal within 120 days of receiving a notification exclusion, to the designated Tribunal.”
THE OPPORTUNITY TO FILE AN APPEAL NEVER CAME
Initially, the GOI was in favor of the NRC – called it fair, legal, transparent and scientific BUT only bcoz of the international outrage
State unit of BJP & other pro-NRC groups started campaigning against the Final list of the NRC on the very day it was published.
AASU, the most vocal voice in favor of NRC in Assam , was not happy with the final list. On 31st August 2019, AASU said, “We are not happy at all. It seems there were some deficiencies in the updation process. We believe that it is an incomplete NRC…
…We will appeal to the Supreme Court to remove all the faults and discrepancies in this NRC..
AASU says final NRC contains flaws, will appeal in SC
The NRC in the state has been updated under the monitoring of the Supreme Court to include only genuine Indian nationals.
That BJP didn’t mince any words to express unhappiness with the outcome of the NRC, a process their own government executed under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “But people in Assam are not happy because the number of exclusion is going to be much below than expected. The excluded number should have been more.”
He further added, “For us, the game is not over, we will continue our fight”
BJP not happy with NRC list as ‘more should have been excluded’: Himanta Biswa Sarma
Himanta Biswa Sarma told The Indian Express that the BJP and the state government will now approach the Supreme Court again for “re-verification” of the citizenship in the border districts.
The expectation that the Himanta Biswa Sarma was talking about arises from decades of false narrative and misinformation created by people who wanted NRC in Assam.
When decades of lies got busted – “We are not happy”
On 20th November 2019, Himanta Biswa Sarma addressed a press conference in Guwahati and said, “The Assam government has not accepted the NRC. Government of Assam and BJP have requested the home minister Amit Shah to reject the NRC.”
Assam govt has urged Centre to reject current NRC: Himanta Biswa Sarma | India News – Times of India
India News: Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said the state government has requested the Centre to reject the recently published.
On the same day,Amit Shah told Rajya Sabha, “NRC process in Assam was conducted under an order of the Supreme Court and under a separate law. When NRC will be launched across the country then, naturally, the exercise will be repeated in Assam.”
Amit Shah on NRC: NRC will be conducted across India, repeated in Assam
NRC would be implemented across the country which would require replicating the just-concluded exercise in Assam, home minister Amit Shah said
Mr.Prateek Hajela spearheaded the entire NRC process. He was directly answerable to the Supreme Court. But when the NRC failed to meet expectations, he was hounded and vilified.
Assam government to start new exercise to purify NRC document: Himanta Biswa Sarma | Guwahati News – Times of India
GUWAHATI: Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that former state coordinator and bureaucrat Prateek Hajela has “fundamentally prepared a wrong NRC”.
The Supreme Court ordered Hajela’s inter-state deputation to Madhya Pradesh for the maximum period permissible under the rules, the order of the Supreme Court didn’t cite any reason.
Supreme Court moves out Assam NRC chief, gives Centre 7 days to shift him to MP
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi directed the government to notify the transfer within seven days.
Once Mr. Prateek Hajela was transferred, the Assam govt appointed an ACS officer, Hitesh Dev Sarma, as the new Assam in-charge of NRC.
He was an ideal candidate for the project – “MAKE US HAPPY”
On Facebook he wrote, there are “lakhs and lakhs of Bangladeshis in the NRC”. In another post, on November 15, 2017, Sarma wrote, “Minority appeasement policy for the last seven decades has changed the definition of secularism.”
Prateek Hajela gone, NRC coordinator’s office vacant for a week
In another development, a top state government official told The Indian Express on Monday that the government has taken up Sarma’s appointment with the Registrar General of India (RGI).
The Registrar General of India (RGI) who is the statutory head of NRC. The RGI has several times intimated the State Coordinator and Assam government to issue rejection slips, which is integral to the filing of appeals against the final NRC list and wind up the NRC process.
NRC Coordination Committee in its meeting held on 30.01.2020 directed that the pending work relating to issue of rejection slips to the excluded persons from Final NRC published on 31.08.2019 should be completed on a mission mode.
But despite several intimations from the RGI to issue rejection slips and wind up the NRC process, the State Coordinator has refused to follow instructions of the RGI and rather tried to re-open the Final NRC List.
Rather than following due process, the incumbent State Coordinator has filed two applications before the Hon’ble Supreme Court – one for his impleadment in the NRC monitoring case and another for 100 percent re-verification of the NRC.
Attempt To Reopen Assam’s NRC, Plea In Supreme Court For “Reverification”
“Major irregularities” have been detected in the lists of the National Registry of Citizens in Assam and a comprehensive re-verification should be conducted, the state’s NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma
This, despite the facts that earlier Interlocutory Applications filed by Union of India and State of Assam for sample part re-verification was rejected by the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide Order dated 23.07.2019.
The demand for ‘re-verification. is purely political.
The Final List of the NRC was a huge blow to the narrative peddled by the BJP and their cohort in the last few decades.
The BJP therefore wanted ‘re-verification’ of the NRC , so that it can exclude more people – You know who!
In a run-up to the 2021 Assam Assembly, the BJP made the ‘correct NRC’ their major election agenda, it was a part of BJP’s election manifesto.
Unveiling the manifesto in Guwahati, the national President of BJP said, “We will protect genuine Indian citizens and detect illegal infiltrators so that Assam can remain Assam’s.”
BJP Assam election manifesto: Balancing silence and old and new promises
BJP Assam election manifesto: Titled Sankalpa Patra, it talks of a “corrected” NRC to “secure” Assam, protection of indigenous rights as well as developmental promises for women, youths etc.
Well, NRC was never about illegal immigration for the BJP, it was only to strip the citizenship of Muslim citizens.
10 days before the Final List was published, EAM was in Dhaka to tell the Bangladesh government that, “NRC is India’s internal matter.”
Assam NRC is India’s internal matter: Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister Jaishankar’s remarks came after he held talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart in Dhaka on various issues, including the Teesta water deal and the Rohingya crisis
In November 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured Bangladesh High Commissioner that NRC is India’s ‘internal issue’.
PM Modi has assured NRC an ‘internal issue’: Bangladesh envoy
After some 1.9 million people were left out of the final version of the NRC in Assam in August, statements by BJP leaders that these people would be deported have sparked concerns among the public.
The most outrageous part in the entire episode is the role of the Supreme Court, which started the NRC exercise – It should have made sure no citizens are further harassed and abused in the name of citizenship.
Guess I am expecting too much, Thank you for this eternal mess!