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�Correct NRC, voters� list vital for country�s security�

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, June 25 � A correct National Register of Citizens (NRC) and voters� list free from names of any foreigners are vital for the security of not only the North East region but also of the entire country, said Governor PB Acharya. He also asserted that he had never criticized the State government and only pointed out some of the mistakes for the benefit of the State.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Acharya expressed the view that the voters� list of 2014 cannot be the basis of the NRC. The people of Assam have time and again expressed the opinion that the voters� list contained names of huge number of foreigners and that should never be the basis of the NRC, he said. The voters� list should be reviewed to ensure that no foreigner is allowed to take part in the democratic process of the State. He also said that the voters� list can be a supplementary to the NRC but that cannot be the basis. He further expressed the view that the officers engaged in the process of updating the NRC should be extremely careful to ensure that no names of foreigners are included in the NRC.

The Governor said that the genuine Indian citizens from other parts of the country, who came to Assam after 1971, should also get a chance to get their names included in the NRC. However, he admitted that he is yet to discuss the issue of updating the NRC with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Replying to a question on the Congress demonstration against him, the Governor said though in a democracy, everyone has the right to protest democratically, the incident was unfortunate. He said that the Congress leaders could have discussed the issues with him before launching such an agitation. �My doors are always open. Any member of the Congress could have visited me to discuss the issues before staging a demonstration. �I had a detailed discussion with the Chief Minister in New Delhi on various issues concerning the State recently and he never raised the issues which were later raised by the Congress. After returning to Guwahati, I had to visit Kohima and learnt that Congress members staged a demonstration in front of the Raj Bhawan in Guwahati,� he added.

Acharya pointed out that one major allegation against him by the Congress was that BJP and RSS members were appointed as Court Members of Dibrugarh University. Clarifying his stand, he said that as the Chancellor of the university, he has the discretionary power to appoint University Court Members and �I only appointed educationists and social workers and while doing so, I tried to give adequate representation to different tribal communities of the region. I believe that for the development of North-east, the tribal and non-tribal people must march together. The Centre is of the view that the universities should not only be centres of knowledge but also centres of development and I tried to keep that aspect in mind while appointing Court Members of Dibrugarh University. Even the Vice Chancellor of the university had expressed happiness over the appointments. If the Congress had any problem regarding the appointment, leaders of the party should have discussed the matter with me.�

The Governor alleged that some of his comments on the International Yoga Day celebrations in Silchar were misinterpreted and asserted that he did not criticize any political party in his speech.

Replying to a question as to why he had often been critical of the State government, the Governor said, �As per the Constitution of India, it is my government. Why should I criticize my own government? I had only pointed out some mistakes in the policies, and tried to guide the government in the right direction for the benefit of the State and its people. For example, I had raised the issue of killing of rhinos, which, according to me, should be an issue of national concern. Similarly, I had raised the issue of protection of Majuli river island and its satras. I do not think there is anything wrong in raising those issues.�

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�Correct NRC, voters� list vital for country�s security�

GUWAHATI, June 25 � A correct National Register of Citizens (NRC) and voters� list free from names of any foreigners are vital for the security of not only the North East region but also of the entire country, said Governor PB Acharya. He also asserted that he had never criticized the State government and only pointed out some of the mistakes for the benefit of the State.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Acharya expressed the view that the voters� list of 2014 cannot be the basis of the NRC. The people of Assam have time and again expressed the opinion that the voters� list contained names of huge number of foreigners and that should never be the basis of the NRC, he said. The voters� list should be reviewed to ensure that no foreigner is allowed to take part in the democratic process of the State. He also said that the voters� list can be a supplementary to the NRC but that cannot be the basis. He further expressed the view that the officers engaged in the process of updating the NRC should be extremely careful to ensure that no names of foreigners are included in the NRC.

The Governor said that the genuine Indian citizens from other parts of the country, who came to Assam after 1971, should also get a chance to get their names included in the NRC. However, he admitted that he is yet to discuss the issue of updating the NRC with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Replying to a question on the Congress demonstration against him, the Governor said though in a democracy, everyone has the right to protest democratically, the incident was unfortunate. He said that the Congress leaders could have discussed the issues with him before launching such an agitation. �My doors are always open. Any member of the Congress could have visited me to discuss the issues before staging a demonstration. �I had a detailed discussion with the Chief Minister in New Delhi on various issues concerning the State recently and he never raised the issues which were later raised by the Congress. After returning to Guwahati, I had to visit Kohima and learnt that Congress members staged a demonstration in front of the Raj Bhawan in Guwahati,� he added.

Acharya pointed out that one major allegation against him by the Congress was that BJP and RSS members were appointed as Court Members of Dibrugarh University. Clarifying his stand, he said that as the Chancellor of the university, he has the discretionary power to appoint University Court Members and �I only appointed educationists and social workers and while doing so, I tried to give adequate representation to different tribal communities of the region. I believe that for the development of North-east, the tribal and non-tribal people must march together. The Centre is of the view that the universities should not only be centres of knowledge but also centres of development and I tried to keep that aspect in mind while appointing Court Members of Dibrugarh University. Even the Vice Chancellor of the university had expressed happiness over the appointments. If the Congress had any problem regarding the appointment, leaders of the party should have discussed the matter with me.�

The Governor alleged that some of his comments on the International Yoga Day celebrations in Silchar were misinterpreted and asserted that he did not criticize any political party in his speech.

Replying to a question as to why he had often been critical of the State government, the Governor said, �As per the Constitution of India, it is my government. Why should I criticize my own government? I had only pointed out some mistakes in the policies, and tried to guide the government in the right direction for the benefit of the State and its people. For example, I had raised the issue of killing of rhinos, which, according to me, should be an issue of national concern. Similarly, I had raised the issue of protection of Majuli river island and its satras. I do not think there is anything wrong in raising those issues.�