The All Assam Students Union (AASU) on Saturday criticised the Centre’s and state government’s application to the Supreme Court demanding a sample re-verification of 10-20 per cent of the names which appeared in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) published last year.
The final NRC is expected to be published on July 31. The AASU is one of the stakeholders in the case in the SC on the updation of the NRC.
An official of the Home and Political Department of the Assam government told The Indian Express, “We submitted it (application) on July 9. Both Centre and State moved it.” The application has sought a sample re-verification of 20 per cent of the names in districts close to Bangladesh or where the average population growth rate is higher than the normal and 10 per cent in the remaining districts, the official said. He said it was not a new appeal by the state since they had sought the same after the draft NRC was released last year. The government has maintained that a re-verification was needed since the draft came out.
What does re-verification entail?
In the first draft of the NRC, 1.90 crore of the 3.29 crore applicants were included. In the final draft, 1.5 lakh included in first draft were excluded and a total of 2.89 crore applicants were included. The NRC authorities last month further dropped 1,02,462 names from the final draft. The names were removed because the updation process consists of continuous quality checks and verifications. Sample re-verification, if approved by the Supreme Court and carried out, would mean that in all probability more names from the final draft would be dropped.
AASU’s general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said, “The demand at this point of time appears to be a conspiracy to derail and delay the NRC updation process. The governments have demanded it when only a few weeks are left for the final NRC. They could have demanded it much earlier. Why demand it just when the final NRC is about to come out?”
The All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU), another stakeholder in the case, said that they are planning to file a counter-affidavit in the SC. “It appears to be an attempt to delay the NRC. Who will carry out the re-verification? It will be the same government officials who have been involved in the NRC process all this while,” AAMSU advisor Azizur Rahman said.
However, the government official said that according to their appeal the re-verification was to be done by another official and not the one who had checked documents.
After the final draft was published, the SC had last year said in an order on August 28, “At this stage, we may also indicate that pursuant to our previous order dated 16th August, 2018, (NRC State Coordinator in Assam Prateek) Hajela has placed before us a district-wise data of the percentage of the population who have been excluded from the final draft NRC. Having perused the same we are of the view that the Court should consider the necessity of carrying out the sample re-verification of at least 10 per cent of the names included in the final draft NRC, if required, by a team of NSK Personnel from a neighbouring district… Hajela is also requested to submit a report in this regard and the possible timeframe when such an exercise can begin if ordered by the Court and the timeframe within which the same can be completed.”