NEW DELHI, April 24 � In yet another twist to the ongoing debate on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) updating process, one of the petitioners, the Assam Public Works has objected to some of the supporting documents being sought by the authorities.
The ration card has been fixed by the Government of Assam as a supporting document to prove one�s citizenship, but the line between �supporting document� and �document� is very thin. Ration cards are very easily forgeable and everyone is aware of ghost ration cards in large numbers everywhere, the petitioner said in an additional affidavit filed in the Supreme Court. The ration card as a document to prove one�s citizenship must be removed and deleted from the list, the additional affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday, pleaded.
APW president Aabhijeet Sharma told newsmen that they have supported Speaker of the Assam Assembly, who has given a simple yet logical formula towards the definition of Indigenous Assamese � that anyone whose names are linked to the NRC 1951 are indigenous Assamese. This simply means that all those who came to Assam before Independence up to 1950 are indigenous Assamese.
The State government has sought ration cards and certificates issued by Gram Panchayat Secretary in respect of women who have migrated after marriage, as supporting documents.
The petitioner further said that the last sizable group to enter Assam are the Adivasi (Tea Tribe). They will rightly qualify as indigenous Assamese as per the Speaker�s modality. The issues is, however, not resolved as two political parties have opposed this definition of indigenous Assamese as put forth by the Speaker of the House due to vote bank politics.
Although the Tea Tribe had come to Assam since 1859, most of them were not included in the NRC 1951. The community has no other supporting document in their hands as most of them are employed in tea garden and after retirement they were settled in government donated lands, the petitioner has argued.
Sharma said the modality for updating the NRC for Assam must be compiled according to government�s modality, through �application� as finalised, but in two phases.
The petitioner also pleaded for modification in the NRC compilation process. A direction is essential to distinguish a pre-March 25, 1971 Bangladeshi and an indigenous Assamese with common surname, it was prayed.
It pleaded that �area specific surnames� of Assam must be included along with 12 documents to prove one�s citizenship.
All Tea Tribe surnames will automatically be included in the NRC as Indian citizens, except in their case, the permanent residential address needs to be checked as a large part of their society resides outside Assam in their original native land, Sharma pleaded.
Briefing newsmen, Sharma questioned the motive of AIUDF, pointing out that Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind, which is one of the petitioners, has not opposed the affidavit. AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal is raking up the issue seeking cheap publicity, he said.
Sharma also questioned the silence of the All Assam Students� Union regarding the supporting documents. In fact, AASU and All Assam Minority Students� Union are two organisations, which have not opposed the documents, he said.