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Draft NRC: Of haves and have nots


GUWAHATI, July 31 - Anxious Maloti Thapa was one of the first to be at the Hatigaon NRC Seva Kendra (NSK) on Monday morning. But, ever since the 70-year-old widow was told by NSK officials that her name was not in the draft document, she had been moving around the campus of the NSK with a bunch of papers � sometimes speaking to a neighbour who had accompanied her and sometimes responding to queries of visiting journalists.

Uneasiness was palpable on her face, but it seemed she was not dejected yet. �They (NSK officials) told me to come after August 7 and fill up the form. I will fill it up,� Thapa told The Assam Tribune, offering to show a few papers she was carrying to prove her credentials.

Thapa hails from Thermal Gate in Tinsukia and was married to a State Secretariat driver � Paharman Thapa � before Meghalaya became a separate state. For the last 12-13 years she has been staying at KK Bhatta Path, Hatigaon.

�I don�t even remember when I was married. I never went to school. I could only find the driving licences of both my father and husband which I submitted. Other papers were destroyed in a fire a few years back. The names of my daughter, who has been married into a Barua family at Birubari, and my daughter-in-law, have come,� she said.

The Hatigaon NSK had around 21,247 applicants, but the officials could not give the number of those who could not make it to the draft document. Three tables were laid out in a room of the NSK � each manned by one official tasked to help applicants to ascertain if their names were included in the draft NRC.

�People have been coming here since morning. Probably the number of visitors has crossed 500 till noon. Today we were just helping people to ascertain if their names have been included in the draft,� in-charge of the NSK Ranjit Bhattacharyya said yesterday.

Bhattacharyya said those people whose names were not in the draft have been told to fill up the required forms after August 7. �It is not possible to tell them now why their names have not come in the draft. Those who do not have their names would be sent notices detailing the reasons for their exclusion and what needs to be done in order to get their names included,� he added.

But unlike Maloti Thapa, Jaimuddin, a 45-year-old mason, had some good news in store at the NSK yesterday.

In fact, though Jaimuddin hails from Chaygaon, he had arrived at the NSK to check if his name was included in the draft, but he was dejected after officials could not help as it was not related to their centre.

Jaimuddin�s name was not in the first list, though he had submitted the 1966 voters list. He claimed that the name of his father had some printing errors, but could not explain much.

�We then went for the hearing after the first draft was published. We have to check it on the phone (read internet), right?� he asked a journalist who was there on duty.

�Yes. Either you have to visit the NSK where you applied or check it online,� the journalist replied. However, seeing the concern on Jaimuddin�s face, the journalist volunteered to check his name on his android and asked for his ARN number, which Jaimuddin shared happily. At the click of a button after the ARN was typed, a list of six names was read out to Jaimuddin and he identified everyone, introducing them individually.

�It means our names have come?� he asked eagerly, to which the journalist replied in the affirmative.

Jaimuddin immediately rushed out of the centre and dialed some numbers on the phone, apparently to some members of his family. Later, he was seen walking out of the NSK briskly and merrily.

Yesterday, there were not big crowds at the NRC Seva Kendras as many preferred to check their names online. The district officials refused to divulge the number of applicants in the district whose names have not been included in the draft, citing instructions from the NRC headquarters. Other districts, however, revealed their respective statistics.

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