NEW DELHI, Feb 29 - The Centre had taken note of the demand for completion of the National Register of Citizens exercise when it ordered deferring of the constituency delimitation exercise in 2008.
Representations were received from Assam that the delimitation exercise be postponed till such a time when the NRC is updated to reflect the State�s true population configuration, a gazette notification issued on February 8, 2008 had said.
�On being satisfied that a situation has arisen where unity and integrity of India is likely to be threatened and there is a serious threat to the peace and public order, the President deferred the delimitation exercise in Assam,� the notification had said.
However, Friday�s gazette notification cited improvement in law and order in Assam and three states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur for ordering commencement of delimitation exercise.
Significantly, it made no mention of the opinion of the State government unlike in the 2008 notification. It was also silent on the status of the NRC.
The Government of Assam had then also conveyed to the Central government about the strong objections lodged by the legislators, parliamentarians, all political parties, panchayats and public leaders on the proposed delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies, and had opined that delimitation without addressing the grievances of public leaders, people and the indigenous communities might cause major law and order problems in Assam.
The State government was of the view that the delimitation process should be kept in abeyance and had requested the Centre for maintenance of status quo in the interest of peaceful coexistence of people, maintenance of public order and the State�s territorial integrity.
The 2008 notification said that the delimitation work in respect of Assam was suspended first in pursuance of the stay orders of the Gauhati High Court in the case of a PIL filed by Ram Parsad Sharma. The exercise was resumed following a stay granted by the Supreme Court on the order of the Gauhati High Court. However, the government said the Supreme Court order is likely to arouse the sentiments of the people living in Assam due to their apprehension that the ongoing delimitation in many electoral constituencies may result in breakup of affiliation between public and its representatives, change of boundaries, which may cause alienation of different groups of tribes.
It was observed that the process of delimitation in Assam has all along evoked strong opposition from all concerned in the State, and there have been a large number of protests, picketing, bandhs, road blockades by the political and non-political organisations in the State.
Different political parties, student bodies like the All Assam Students� Union, All Bodo Students� Union, All Koch Rajbongshi Students� Union, All Assam Minority Students� Union, Adivasi Students� Union and various other ethnic organisations while opposing the delimitation process launched as many as 113 agitation programmes, the government noted.
An Ujani Asom Samasti Suraksha Samiti was specially constituted to oppose the Delimitation Commission�s proposal for curtailment of one constituency each in the upper Assam districts of Sivasagar, Jorhat and Dibrugarh.
The notification said that delimitation of constituencies in Assam is very serious and sensitive in nature and may give rise to breakdown of public order on account of serious law and order situation in different districts and more particularly, in the areas which are disturbed areas or very sensitive areas.
The Central government in view of the prevailing law and order situation, declared the entire State of Assam and 20-km-wide belt in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya bordering Assam as �disturbed area�.