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Assembly adopts �71 poll rolls as base year

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 17 � The State Assembly today passed a resolution by voice vote for updating the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC) basing it on the electoral rolls of 1971. Prior to the adoption of the resolution, the House rejected the amendments proposed by the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI). The rejected amendments suggested some �sensible� changes according to their proponents.

The resolution, moved by the Government, has stated that the House has proposed that the NRC should be updated taking 1971 electoral rolls as the base year. This decision was arrived at as per the decision of the May 5, 2005 tripartite meeting held among the Government of India, Assam Government and the All Assam Students� Union (AASU), in presence of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, said the resolution.

The resolution would be sent to the Central Government for necessary actions.

In the amendment they had proposed, AGP legislators said that for the purpose of updating the NRC the names of those persons whose names appear in the electoral rolls till 1971 should be included and the NRC should be updated within the next one year�s time.

BJP legislators suggested in their proposed amendment that the NRC should be updated as per the decision of the May 5, 2005 tripartite meeting, honouring the Assam Accord and as per the BJP suggestions to incorporate the names of the refugees made in the all-party meeting on the issue.

CPI legislator Drupad Bargohain suggested that the NRC should be updated as per the provisions of the Assam Accord and special emphasis should be attached to the clauses of the Accord on the migrants belonging to the 1961-1971 period. The Assam Accord has made a special reference to this section of the people.

And going by it, there should have been provisions to debar them from voting rights for ten years and their names also should have been registered and they should have been granted citizenship only on the basis of their applications, said Bargohain.

Moving his party�s amendment proposal, AGP leader Chandra Mohan Patowary said that since there was a consensus on the issue in the tripartite meeting among the Governments in the State and at the Centre and the AASU and even at the all-party meeting, there is no scope for a debate.

The next tripartite meeting on the issue is scheduled for April next and the issue should be left to it for a final decision. There should not be any attempt at imposing any decision from outside, he said, adding that his party was for an amicable solution to the vexed problem.

However, in support of his party�s suggestion for fixing a time limit of one year for completion of the NRC updating process, he said that the Chief Minister had said in the 2005 tripartite meeting that within a period of two years the updating process was expected to be completed.

Mission Ranjan Das, while moving the amendment proposed by his party, said that there should be a distinction between immigrants and refugees. The 2004 amendment to the country�s Citizenship Act granted citizenship to the refugees, he said.

Taking part in the debate on the resolution, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the 1971 electoral rolls had been sought to be taken as the basis for updating the NRC considering the fact that migrants belonging to the 1961-�71 period would continue to enjoy all rights. Much stress should not be laid on technical matters and the approach of the House in this regard should be a humanitarian one, he said.

The resolution has been moved only to remove the confusion over the issue and it is expected that people by and large would support it, he said.

Ministers Bharat Narah and Rokybul Hussain also took part in the debate on the issue.

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Assembly adopts �71 poll rolls as base year

GUWAHATI, March 17 � The State Assembly today passed a resolution by voice vote for updating the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC) basing it on the electoral rolls of 1971. Prior to the adoption of the resolution, the House rejected the amendments proposed by the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI). The rejected amendments suggested some �sensible� changes according to their proponents.

The resolution, moved by the Government, has stated that the House has proposed that the NRC should be updated taking 1971 electoral rolls as the base year. This decision was arrived at as per the decision of the May 5, 2005 tripartite meeting held among the Government of India, Assam Government and the All Assam Students� Union (AASU), in presence of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, said the resolution.

The resolution would be sent to the Central Government for necessary actions.

In the amendment they had proposed, AGP legislators said that for the purpose of updating the NRC the names of those persons whose names appear in the electoral rolls till 1971 should be included and the NRC should be updated within the next one year�s time.

BJP legislators suggested in their proposed amendment that the NRC should be updated as per the decision of the May 5, 2005 tripartite meeting, honouring the Assam Accord and as per the BJP suggestions to incorporate the names of the refugees made in the all-party meeting on the issue.

CPI legislator Drupad Bargohain suggested that the NRC should be updated as per the provisions of the Assam Accord and special emphasis should be attached to the clauses of the Accord on the migrants belonging to the 1961-1971 period. The Assam Accord has made a special reference to this section of the people.

And going by it, there should have been provisions to debar them from voting rights for ten years and their names also should have been registered and they should have been granted citizenship only on the basis of their applications, said Bargohain.

Moving his party�s amendment proposal, AGP leader Chandra Mohan Patowary said that since there was a consensus on the issue in the tripartite meeting among the Governments in the State and at the Centre and the AASU and even at the all-party meeting, there is no scope for a debate.

The next tripartite meeting on the issue is scheduled for April next and the issue should be left to it for a final decision. There should not be any attempt at imposing any decision from outside, he said, adding that his party was for an amicable solution to the vexed problem.

However, in support of his party�s suggestion for fixing a time limit of one year for completion of the NRC updating process, he said that the Chief Minister had said in the 2005 tripartite meeting that within a period of two years the updating process was expected to be completed.

Mission Ranjan Das, while moving the amendment proposed by his party, said that there should be a distinction between immigrants and refugees. The 2004 amendment to the country�s Citizenship Act granted citizenship to the refugees, he said.

Taking part in the debate on the resolution, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the 1971 electoral rolls had been sought to be taken as the basis for updating the NRC considering the fact that migrants belonging to the 1961-�71 period would continue to enjoy all rights. Much stress should not be laid on technical matters and the approach of the House in this regard should be a humanitarian one, he said.

The resolution has been moved only to remove the confusion over the issue and it is expected that people by and large would support it, he said.

Ministers Bharat Narah and Rokybul Hussain also took part in the debate on the issue.