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Probe decision based on NGO�s petition

By KALYAN BAROOAH
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NEW DELHI, April 6 � The Centre�s decision to probe the allegation of tampering of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is based on a complaint filed by an NGO, Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM), which has charged that Assam government officials have indulged in wholesome tampering of the original NRC document of 1951.

The seriousness of the allegation of involvement of Assam government officials has made the Ministry of Home Affairs sit up and take notice before ordering a team to rush to Assam to investigate. The complainant has even given the name of the official who is allegedly involved in the racket.

In a petition to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 18, senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika called for an investigation by a Central investigating agency into the large-scale fabrication of identity proofs, enabling Bangladeshis to acquire citizenship.

�This calls for a thorough investigation by a Central investigating agency like the CBI and we would request you to please direct an investigation as soon as possible to ensure that no names of foreigners are included in the NRC of 1951. This has serious implications for the security and integrity of the country,� said Hazarika.

Quoting un-named sources, Hazarika, on behalf of the NGO, alleged that government officials were inserting names in the original register after which it had been digitalised manually.

A copy of the petition which is with this newspaper, said that after tampering with the original NRC by entering new names, which were originally not there, such new names have been given an official sanctity and thereafter entered into the digitalised version by various data entry operators, it was alleged.

The serial numbers of the original NRC of 1951 and that of the digitalised version are not the same with respect to the original undivided Kamrup district of Assam, as modifications/alterations have been carried out during safekeeping of the 1951 NRC in the office of the District Magistrate, Kamrup (Metro). The name of the head assistant of the NRC Cell (name withheld) has been named in the petition.

The alterations can be noticed as new ink quality differing from the original inks can be seen in the modifications carried out. Furthermore, new additions have been made by giving sub-numbers in particular serial numbers. Besides, on some pages the vacant original spaces at the bottom ends have been filled up later by including up to 10 additional names.

Hazarika said if true, the instances were of a very serious nature and related to only a few areas. He added that similar tampering could be happening in other areas as well, as Assam government officials were involved in including names of foreigners in the original NRC.

This was over and above the use of fraudulent and forged identity proofs by foreigners, which are readily accepted by the Assam government, he said.

On Monday this newspaper reported that the Centre would shortly probe an allegation of tampering of the NRC of 1951 by some unscrupulous persons during the process of updating it.

Joint Secretary (North East) of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Sambhu Singh confirmed that the Centre had recently received a complaint that the NRC of Kamrup district was tampered with and some new names included in it.

Singh said that a team of the MHA would be sent to Assam soon for a thorough probe into the incident. He said a sample survey may be carried out and if any more irregularity is found, the deputy commissioners and other officers involved with the process of updating the NRC would be asked to carry out a detailed check to ascertain that no such malpractice happened.

The MHA official said the Centre was keen on correct updating of the NRC so that photo identity cards can be issued to genuine Indian citizens on the basis of it.

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Probe decision based on NGO�s petition

NEW DELHI, April 6 � The Centre�s decision to probe the allegation of tampering of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is based on a complaint filed by an NGO, Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM), which has charged that Assam government officials have indulged in wholesome tampering of the original NRC document of 1951.

The seriousness of the allegation of involvement of Assam government officials has made the Ministry of Home Affairs sit up and take notice before ordering a team to rush to Assam to investigate. The complainant has even given the name of the official who is allegedly involved in the racket.

In a petition to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 18, senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika called for an investigation by a Central investigating agency into the large-scale fabrication of identity proofs, enabling Bangladeshis to acquire citizenship.

�This calls for a thorough investigation by a Central investigating agency like the CBI and we would request you to please direct an investigation as soon as possible to ensure that no names of foreigners are included in the NRC of 1951. This has serious implications for the security and integrity of the country,� said Hazarika.

Quoting un-named sources, Hazarika, on behalf of the NGO, alleged that government officials were inserting names in the original register after which it had been digitalised manually.

A copy of the petition which is with this newspaper, said that after tampering with the original NRC by entering new names, which were originally not there, such new names have been given an official sanctity and thereafter entered into the digitalised version by various data entry operators, it was alleged.

The serial numbers of the original NRC of 1951 and that of the digitalised version are not the same with respect to the original undivided Kamrup district of Assam, as modifications/alterations have been carried out during safekeeping of the 1951 NRC in the office of the District Magistrate, Kamrup (Metro). The name of the head assistant of the NRC Cell (name withheld) has been named in the petition.

The alterations can be noticed as new ink quality differing from the original inks can be seen in the modifications carried out. Furthermore, new additions have been made by giving sub-numbers in particular serial numbers. Besides, on some pages the vacant original spaces at the bottom ends have been filled up later by including up to 10 additional names.

Hazarika said if true, the instances were of a very serious nature and related to only a few areas. He added that similar tampering could be happening in other areas as well, as Assam government officials were involved in including names of foreigners in the original NRC.

This was over and above the use of fraudulent and forged identity proofs by foreigners, which are readily accepted by the Assam government, he said.

On Monday this newspaper reported that the Centre would shortly probe an allegation of tampering of the NRC of 1951 by some unscrupulous persons during the process of updating it.

Joint Secretary (North East) of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Sambhu Singh confirmed that the Centre had recently received a complaint that the NRC of Kamrup district was tampered with and some new names included in it.

Singh said that a team of the MHA would be sent to Assam soon for a thorough probe into the incident. He said a sample survey may be carried out and if any more irregularity is found, the deputy commissioners and other officers involved with the process of updating the NRC would be asked to carry out a detailed check to ascertain that no such malpractice happened.

The MHA official said the Centre was keen on correct updating of the NRC so that photo identity cards can be issued to genuine Indian citizens on the basis of it.