GUWAHATI, Oct 8 - There is still confusion over the stand of the Government on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on August 31 and it seems that the Central and State Governments have difference of opinion on the citizenship document. While, the Government of India has been defending the NRC at different platforms in the national and international level, senior Ministers of Assam and functionaries of the State unit of the ruling BJP have been criticizing it.
The State unit of the BJP has been criticizing the NRC and alleged that names of Indian nationals were left out of it, while, names of large number of foreigners were included. Though the State Government has not officially rejected the NRC, senior Ministers of the State Cabinet spoke out openly against it and asserted that the Government would approach the Supreme Court seeking re-verification of the names included and excluded.
On the other hand, the Central Government has been supporting the NRC in different platforms. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) brought out a list of achievements on the completion of 100 days in office by the NDA Government in its second term in office and among the achievements in the North East region, publication of the NRC was on the top of the list. The list of achievements also said that the Government of India has given approval on principle for setting up of one thousand new Foreigners' Tribunals in the State and approval has been given for creation of E-FT platform.
In the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the Government of India claimed that the updating of the NRC was a statutory and transparent process, which was monitored by the Supreme Court. The Government also claimed that it was a non-discriminatory process.
As there were apprehensions expressed in the foreign media about the NRC, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) came out with a detailed statement on the NRC on the day it was published. �Since the publication of the NRC, there have been some commentaries in sections of foreign media about aspects of the final NRC which are incorrect,� the statement said. The statement gave a detailed background of the events leading to the updating of the NRC right from the Assam movement and signing of the Assam Accord and said that updating of NRC is a statutory, transparent, legal process mandated by the Supreme Court of India. This is not an executive-driven process. The process is being monitored by the Supreme Court directly and the government is acting in accordance with the directives issued by the court. The apex court of the land has itself set the deadlines for all steps that have been taken so far.
The statement said, �NRC is a fair process based on scientific methods. Inclusion in the NRC is unique process as it is based on �application� rather than �house to house enumeration�. That means that any person in Assam could have sought to be included in the list on the basis of having documentation to prove lineage from an entitled person, i.e. a person who was a resident of Assam as on March 24, 1971. It is a non-discriminatory process, which leaves no room for bias and injustice. As can be seen from the application form for data entry in NRC, there was no column in the application asking for religion of the applicant.�