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Asam Sahitya Sabha to move SC on NRC

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 8 � Calling for direct inclusion of the names of all �original inhabitants� of Assam in the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Asam Sahitya Sabha today said that it would move the Supreme Court which was monitoring the ongoing NRC updating process over the issue.

The apex literary body of the State has unanimously prepared a draft proposal in this regard at a meeting today. The Sabha will file a writ petition in the Supreme Court by July 12.

Addressing the media, Sabha president Dr Dhrubajyoti Borah said that conditions such as having legacy data or any other document would effectively keep a sizeable segment of the State�s original and indigenous populations � especially the tribal people and the tea tribe community � out of the purview of the NRC. Many from the non-tribal original residents, too, are having the same problem, he added.

�We all are in favour of a correct and authentic NRC but the ongoing method of NRC updating has put many of the State�s original and indigenous communities at a disadvantageous position. Owing to their backwardness, illiteracy, etc., these people are not in possession of any document concerning their Indian citizenship status. Moreover, most of these people are not in the habit of collecting or preserving such documents. The Sabha strongly feels that for these people, the need for legacy data and other documents should be done away they should be allowed automatic entry into the NRC,� Dr Borah said.

Apprehending that under the present arrangements, a majority of the State�s original and indigenous groups would fail to have their names in the NRC, Dr Borah said that such an eventuality would complicate matters further and render the entire exercise of NRC update meaningless.

�We are against any politicization of the issue and want to evolve a mechanism through which all members of original inhabitants can enrol their names in the NRC,� he said.

As per Sabha�s draft proposal, people belonging to the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes besides those belonging to OBC and MOBC including the tea tribes, ex-tea tribes and 12 communities of Nepali origin living in Assam, should have automatic entry to the NRC.

�In addition, members of these original communities, which do not figure in the above-mentioned list and comprise people belonging to groups such as the Kalitas, Kayasthas of Assam, Brahmins of Assam, Daibagya (Ganak), Keot, Assamese indigenous Muslims, Assamese indigenous Sikhs, Assamese Marowaris, Assamese Buddhists, etc., should also have direct access to the NRC. All these people should have no requirement of any legacy data or identity proof documents. Their names should be included in the NRC simply on the basis of their application with their names,� Dr Borah said.

Today�s Sabha meeting was attended among others by former Sabha presidents Rong Bong Terang and Dr Lakshminandan Bora, former Assam Chief Secretary Harendra Nath Das, Prof Deven Dutta, Lily Rajbangsi and Prafulla Sarma. The written note of Dr Hiren Gohain, who could not attend the meeting, was read out.

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