The second and final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is in the process of being updated. The first list, which was published on July 30, left out 2.9 crore names out of the total 3.29 crore applicants in Assam. Many families have been unable to make it to the draft due to data entry errors. There have been cases wherein some members of a family have been excluded and others included in the draft.
A report in the Hindustan Times said that people in Assam are yet to receive the forms for claims, objections and corrections in the draft, even as the process has been delayed by at least a week from the original schedule. People are expected to crowd most of the 2,500 NRC Nagarik Seva Kendras (NSKs) that were set up across the state for the updating exercise. The Supreme Court is yet to decide on a procedure for the exercise. It has asked different stakeholders for their views on the issue.
In an order last month, the court suggested re-verification of 10 percent of 2.89 crore people included in the draft. This is likely to further delay the final NRC. The court has underlined the need for considering verification after going through the district-wise data of exclusions.
For former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, it is worth the wait. "It may mean more delay but a correct NRC should be prepared. Even indigenous people have been left out of the draft," said Mahanta, who led the Assam agitation in the 1980s for the expulsion of foreigners from Assam.
According to the Hindu, the complete draft would also bring the curtain down on a major part of the exercise that began in September 2013 towards settling a sensitive issue that has dominated the socio-political space in Assam since an anti-foreigners agitation from 1979 to 1985 that 'martyred' 855 people.
The NRC officials declined to comment on the matter, citing Supreme Court guidelines. The Supreme Court has not fixed any deadline to publish the final NRC yet, but the centre has approved a total outlay of Rs 12.2 billion for the work until December 31, 2018.