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Opinion

4,800 people ineligible in updated NRC, reported to HC

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About 4,800 ineligible people were listed in Assam’s updated National Register of Citizens (NRC), says an affidavit filed in the Gauhati High Court, according to court documents.

The affidavit was filed this week by the office of the Assam state coordinator for the NRC in magistrates court Manojit Bhuyan and Soumitra Saikia in connection with a petition. According to the affidavit, the NRC office detected 4,795 ineligible individuals whose names were included on the list while verifying the details of 10,199 individuals after the updated list was released in August last year. These individuals included doubtful voters (D), declared aliens, persons against whom there are pending cases in alien court, and their family members, all categories that should be excluded from the updated NRC.

Similarly, among the 10,199 people whose details were verified, the names of 5,404 people who should have been included in the NRC were found not to be on the list.

In October of this year, the superior court had asked the NRC state coordinating officer to submit a full affidavit on how some ineligible individuals managed to be included on the final list.

The court was hearing a petition from Rahima Begam, a resident of Mukalmua in the Nalbari district, who had challenged a 2019 order from an aliens court declaring her a foreigner.

But despite the court order, Begam’s name was on the list of the NRC, whose goal was to eliminate illegal aliens.

The court noted that the present case was of “great importance” and was not an “isolated instance” and noted that the insertion of names of ineligible persons on the NRC list was “against the law”.

The updated NRC published in August last year had excluded more than 1.9 million of the 33 million people who had applied to be included in the list that sought to identify genuine Indian citizens in Assam and eliminate illegal immigrants.

The exercise, which involved updating a similar list in 1951, was conducted under an order of the Supreme Court and carried out under its supervision.

Shortly after its publication, nearly every political party and organization in the state denounced the list, saying it included names of ineligible people and excluded many genuine citizens.

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