GUWAHATI, April 4 - The Election Commission has miserably failed to give a correct voters� list in Assam, which enabled foreign nationals to participate in the election process to elect representatives to the Assembly and Parliament. This was the allegation of the All Assam Students� Union (AASU).
Reacting to a news item, which appeared in The Assam Tribune that the voters� lists of Assam were grossly incorrect and even persons who were declared as foreigners by the Foreigners� Tribunals have voters� identity cards, AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said, �the report proved once again that since the Assam movement days, foreigners are casting votes in Assam in clear violation of the Representation of People�s Act.� He pointed out that inclusion of names of large number of foreign nationals in the voters� lists was the basis of the Assam movement and now it has been proved once again that the situation has not changed and foreigners are still casting votes in elections.
Bhattacharya said that it is the responsibility of the Election Commission to ensure that a correct voters� list is prepared. But the Commission and the Government officers and employees engaged by it failed to carry out their responsibility, which enabled the foreigners to get their names included in the voters� lists. The AASU demanded that after the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), the voters� lists of the State should be revised on the basis of it.
The AASU chief adviser pointed out that the Gauhati High Court had once commented that foreigners had become kingmakers in Assam. The High Court had also pointed out that one Pakistani national managed to come to Bangladesh and then sneaked into Assam by taking advantage of the porous international border and the person even contested the elections in 1996. If the situation continues, a foreign national would be able to even become the Chief Minister of Assam one day, Bhattacharya said.
Bhattacharya said that as the present Government in the State came to power with the promise of protecting the interests of the indigenous people of the State, it should play a more pro active role in the process of updating the NRC, which is being carried out under the strict monitoring of the Supreme Court. He also appealed to all the officers and employees engaged in the process of updating the NRC to ensure that no foreigner can include his or her name in the NRC with false or forged documents as quite a number of such cases have already been detected during the process of verification of document submitted by the applicants, particularly during the verification of the family trees of the applicants.
The AASU also alleged that from time to time, the State and Central government tried to delay the process of updating the NRC and only because of strict monitoring of the Supreme Court, the process is going ahead smoothly.