GUWAHATI, July 31 - With the publication of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that excluded over 40 lakh applicants, the fate of hundreds of orphans living in the State now hangs in balance!
For, not a single orphan living in the SOS villages located in Azara and Hojai has found his or her name included in the complete draft that was published on Monday.
Director of the SOS Village, Azara Subodh Das told The Assam Tribune, �We had applied with a letter for the inclusion of names of the children living in the village in the draft NRC, although there was no specified guideline to deal with the matter. We will once again move the office of the NRC.�
�We also gave the details of the source from where these children were rescued or brought to the orphanage,� Das said.
The SOS village, Azara houses around 240 orphans including those pursuing different courses outside the campus.
Paresh Badyakar, director, SOS village (Hojai) too confirmed that the names of the in-campus children have not been included in the second and complete draft.
Although there are three SOS villages in the State, only two are currently functional. A rough estimate suggests that the population of orphans in Assam would be over 5,000.
Sunita Changkakoti, chairperson, Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) said that the issue related to inclusion of the orphans will be taken up very soon to ensure that the rights of these children living in the orphanages or the child care institutions are not curtailed (including street children).
Changkakoti said that the Commission will raise the issue with the office of the NRC so that these children are not left out.
�A survey related to total number of orphans in the State would certainly help,� she said.
Sources, meanwhile, informed this reporter that not just the SOS village, non-inclusion of orphans in the final draft is common with almost all the orphanages in the State including the SOS village in Hojai.
Father Thadeus Kujur, director, Snehalaya, when contacted, said that there are around 50 orphans in the home and he is not aware of the exact position of the children vis-�-vis the NRC.
NRC project coordinator Prateek Hajela, when asked, said that the issues will be look into before the final list of the NRC is published.