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Major parties critical of final document

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Aug 31 - Even as the long wait for update of the NRC got over today, major political parties expressed unhappiness with the final register.

While the BJP demanded a national-level NRC to solve the foreigners� problems, principal opposition Congress party accused the BJP of trying to keep the issue of illegal immigrants alive.

�We are totally disappointed. With the NRC that has been published today, the social, political, economic and cultural rights of the Indian citizens of Assam will not be secured in the coming days... On behalf of the State BJP we appeal to the Central government to start NRC across the entire country in the interest of Indian citizens,� State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said. He added that, if necessary, amendments and new laws will be brought to ensure protection of people who came to the State before the cutoff date of March 25, 1971.

He said that former Chief Minister late Hiteswar Saikia had said in early 1990s that there are 30 lakh illegal immigrants in Assam, while Sriprakash Jaiswal, who served as Union Minister of State for Home during the UPA regime, had said that 50 lakh Bangladeshis are in the State. �Now what we have got is a figure of 19.06 lakh excluded from the NRC. So how can we say that we are satisfied? Many indigenous people have been left out. Their number will not be less than two lakh,� Dass said. He alleged that the NRC authorities failed to take into account migration certificate, refugee certificate and such documents.

Dass added that claims of people having surnames like Biswas, Sarkar and Saha have been rejected intentionally and added that such things will not happen when the NRC becomes a national exercise. He cited the example of the mother of BJP office secretary Sujit Biswas, whose name is not in the final list despite her being born in Jalpaiguri.

�On the other hand, verification of documents submitted by many foreigners was not carried out and their names entered... If there had been re-verification of 20 per cent of names such things would not have happened. But NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela opposed that...,� said Dass.

Ripun Bora, president of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, said that the government is responsible for any error in the final NRC.

�We will examine the final document. We will have to see how many of those excluded are genuine Indian citizens. If any Indian citizen has been left out of the register, then the government will be responsible for that. People whose names are not in the NRC will have to face a lot of harassment, while going through the Foreigners� Tribunals (FTs) and courts. If any genuine Indian citizen faces harassment, then we will hold the BJP government responsible for it. Besides, over 3.11 crore people have been included in the NRC. If any foreigner has been included in the NRC, then the BJP government will be held responsible,� Bora said.

Asked if the figure of 19.06 lakh people excluded from the NRC is correct, Bora said, �The figure looks doubtful... Most of the people, barring just over three lakh, who were excluded from the draft NRC, had applied again. They submitted various documents. Those documents must have been genuine or else where did they get them.� The Congress leader also said that the party will extend legal assistance to the Indian citizens whose names are not in the NRC.

Calling upon all stakeholders to refrain from playing politics over the issue, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) said that the figure of the excluded people could have been less. �There was scope for the number of the excluded to have been less. Many people from other State got excluded as they lacked necessary documents and legacy data,� AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam said.

He said that the AIUDF is hopeful that the NRC process will finally solve the foreigners� problems.

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president Atul Bora today said that the AGP was disheartened with the outcome of the final NRC as there is a huge mismatch between the estimate given by the Union government and the outcome of the NRC.

�From time to time the Union government gave the estimate of 50 lakh and 40 lakh illegal foreigners in Assam. The huge gap between the estimate and the final outcome is surprising,� he said.

The AGP leader asserted that his party was deeply involved with the process since its inception and would soon chalk out a plan to address the same.

He added that the party would provide legal help to the genuine Indian citizens, whose names have been left out in the final NRC.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) Assam State Committee appealed all democratic political parties and organisations to extend necessary help to the excluded Indian citizens in filing their appeals.

The party also appealed the government and the Supreme Court to take steps and ensure that no Indian citizens are excluded from the NRC.

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