GUWAHATI, April 3 - The voters� lists of Assam are grossly incorrect and they contain even names of persons declared as foreigners by the Foreigners� Tribunals. This disturbing fact came to light during the process of verification of documents, particularly the family trees of the applicants for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Interestingly, a substantial number of persons declared as foreigners by the Foreigners� Tribunals had submitted voters� identity cards while applying for inclusion of their names in the NRC.
Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that during the process of preparation of the electoral rolls, proper verification of nationality of persons was not carried out as is done in case of the NRC and the concept of checking of family trees during the preparation of the NRC played a major role in detecting such flaws in the voters� lists.
Sources said that so far, around 700 persons, who were declared as foreigners by the Foreigners� Tribunals, produced voters� identity cards for inclusion of their names in the NRC and those could be detected only because a thorough verification is carried out. The names of such persons will now not be included in the NRC. Sources pointed out that as the process of verification is still on, there is every possibility of detection of much more such cases.
Sources said that around 4300 persons, who were declared as foreigners have applied for inclusion of their names in the NRC , which proved that they have not been deported from the country even after they were declared as foreigners and they are still living in the State. They could be detected only because of meticulous verification during the process of updating the NRC. More than 63,000 persons declared as D voters also applied for inclusion of names in the NRC and their names will not be included in the citizenship documents till they are cleared by the Foreigners� Tribunals. However, such detections may turn out to be tip of the iceberg as the verification process is still on and the number of persons declared as foreigners, who have applied for inclusion of names in the NRC can turn out to be much more by the time the process of verification is completed.
Sources pointed out that the idea of creating and verifying family trees resulted in detection of a large number of persons who tried to get names included in the NRC with false or forged documents. A number of cases have been detected where the names of fathers of applicants were different in the voters� identity cards and in the family trees and few of them submitted affidavits claiming that the names were wrongly printed in the voters� identity cards. But if that was the case, they should have raised the issue with the election authorities much earlier without waiting for the verification of the family trees.
The idea of creating family trees of the applicants was first mooted by the State Coordinator for updating NRC, Prateek Hajela way back in 2013 but during that time, there were apprehensions raised by some circles whether such an exercise would be possible. But now it turned out that creation and verification of family trees was one of the best ways to prevent unscrupulous elements from getting their names included in the NRC with false or forged documents. More than 48 lakh mismatches of family trees have so far been detected and the concerned persons are now being called for on the spot verification and during the process different methods used by unauthorized persons to get their names included in the NRC have been detected.
During the process of updating the NRC, the authorities concerned also took documents from the Border Police, Foreigners Tribunals, etc., to make a data base of the list of persons declared as foreigners and the persons identified as D voters. Such an exercise is never carried out during the process of preparation of the electoral rolls and that is why foreigners managed to get their names included in the electoral rolls and participate in the process of elections. Extensive use of information technology with creation of proper data base is also not done in preparation of the electoral rolls, which leaves scope for manipulation.