GUWAHATI, April 22 - The countrywide lockdown has delayed the process of taking the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to its logical conclusion and now the process will start only after the situation improves.
Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the NRC State Coordinator�s Office was planning to issue the rejection slips with the details of the causes of rejection to those whose names did not appear in the NRC from March 20. The persons whose names did not appear in the NRC will be able to approach the Foreigners� Tribunals with the rejection slips.
But the whole process was delayed because of the outbreak of COVID-19 and now the new dates will have to be announced after the situation improves. Sources pointed out that names of more than 19 lakh applicants were not included in the NRC after the completion of the process of filing of claims and objections, of which around 3.9 lakh did not file claims and rejection slips would have to be issued to the rest.
The NRC Coordinator�s Office is ready to issue the rejection slips as soon as the process starts. Sources said that at this moment, it is not possible to issue the slips as it would lead to crowding of the NRC Seva Kendras and defeat the purpose of the lockdown. Sources said that the NRC Coordinator�s Office started functioning from yesterday and it would be able to release the rejection slips as and when required as the software for it is also ready. But the opening of the Seva Kendras is also not possible at this moment.
Sources said that after receiving reports that names of some declared foreigners and persons against whom cases are pending in the Foreigners� Tribunals were also included in the final NRC, reports have been sought from the districts in this regard.
Meanwhile, the Government has initiated steps to set up new Tribunals under the provisions of the Foreigners� Act to deal with the applications of those whose applications were rejected by the NRC authorities. As per the plan, the Government decided to set up 200 new Tribunals and appointed members for the same. The Government also issued a notification for the new Tribunals to start functioning, but the lockdown delayed its functioning. It may be mentioned here that even the existing Tribunals are not functioning due to the lockdown.Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma admits that the rapid test is non-confirmatory yet useful for mass surveillance in containment areas as it gives results in fifteen minutes. �We will in any case have to ratify the result through RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction),� he said.