GUWAHATI, Aug 3 - Though the Assam government had pleaded for 20 per cent reverification of names included in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the districts bordering Bangladesh and 10 per cent in rest of the districts, which was turned down by the Supreme Court, it failed to carry out its responsibility of ensuring that names of foreigners are not included in the NRC.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that on its own, the government could have taken effective steps to ensure that names of foreigners are not included in the NRC. Though the process of updating the NRC is monitored by the Supreme Court, the government machinery was used to carry out the job and the standard operating procedure (SOP) for updating the NRC had clearly stated that local registrars of citizen registration (LRCRs) �may cause or direct to cause verification of names already included in the draft NRC if considered necessary�. The SOP further said that in such cases, the district registrars of citizen registration (DRCRs) would authorise any officer to carry out a probe.
Sources said the government should have taken advantage of that particular clause of the SOP, which was cleared by the Supreme Court, to carry out investigations against suspected foreigners as the LRCRs are the circle officers of the government and DRCRs are the deputy commissioners.
But the government did not take advantage of that particular clause to carry out probes against suspected nationals, sources pointed out.
Sources said whenever name of any person is referred to a foreigners tribunal (FT), his or her name is automatically struck off from the NRC. The government should have used its machinery, including the Border Police force, to find out the suspected nationals living in Assam and referred the cases to the FTs so that names of foreigners could have been struck off from the NRC. But no such step was taken to intensify the process of identifying the suspected foreigners living in Assam during the process of updating the NRC and in fact, no name was referred to the tribunals in the past one year.
Sources said that instead of taking such measures to prevent inclusion of names of foreigners in the NRC, the government was sitting idle for last three years and only in the first week of July, the Central and State governments submitted affidavits in the Supreme Court requesting for 20 per cent reverification in the bordering districts and 10 per cent in rest of the State.
Commenting on the allegations by a section of political leaders that names of suspected foreigners were included in the draft NRC, sources said that instead of levelling allegations through the media, they should have filed objections during the process of filing of claims and objections. �Moreover, the political leaders and others should clarify with the officers engaged in the process before coming up with names who they suspected as foreigners as there have been instances of political leaders coming up with wrong information,� sources added.