GUWAHATI, Oct 28 - Acceptance of refugee registration certificates and citizenship certificates turned out to be a major problem during the process of verification of the documents submitted by applicants for inclusion of names in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and only a small portion of those documents could be verified. Moreover, a number of forgeries of those documents were also identified during the process of verification.
In a report submitted to the Supreme Court, the State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela pointed out that the refugee registration certificates and citizenship certificates were issued to persons who migrated to India from Bangladesh (East Pakistan) and some such certificates were issued by non government organizations. Some private organizations including the Goalpara District Refugee Federation, Refugee Relief Committee, Dhubri, All Assam Refugee Association, Barpeta, Assam Refugee Federation, Guwahati, East Pakistan Refugee Relief, etc., issued certificates and those were produced by some applicants. The report pointed out that such certificates issued by private organizations cannot be accepted for inclusion of name in the NRC as there is no way of examining the authenticity of the same and most of those organizations do not exist now.
The report said that some applicants submitted certificates like relief eligibility certificate, camp inmate certificate or migration certificates. The relief eligibility certificates bear the name of Ministry of Rehabilitation but most of those do not bear the signature of any government official.
The report revealed that a number of forged refugee registration certificate and citizenship certificates were also detected, while, majority of those could not be verified because of lack of records in concerned Government offices. According to the report, as many as 1,43,714 refugee registration certificates were submitted by the applicants and the authenticity of only 10,585 of those could be verified, of which 112 were found to be forged. More than 50,000 could not be verified as records were not available for back-end verification, while, around the same number were found to be illegible. Almost same is the case with the citizenship certificates. The report said that 66,559 such certificates were submitted by the applicants and only around 11,000 could be verified and 376 were found to be forged. Backend verification of more than 25,000 documents was not possible because of lack of records while, more than 19,000 were illegible.
The number of documents, for which back-end verification was not possible because of non availability of records, could also be misleading. The report pointed out that because of non availability of records, the issuing authorities could not ascertain whether the documents submitted were forged and it is possible that the number of forged documents could be much higher than what was reported. Because of lack of back-end verification possibility the refugee registration certificates and citizenship certificates are most likely to be forged and those are the most preferred documents for the persons involved in forgeries and the touts. As those documents were issued only to immigrants, those involved in forgeries and touts can relate to such documents easily and as the formats of such documents are by and large similar, those are easy to be forged or photoshopped, the report said.