Updated: March 30, 2017 9:23:04 am
The government is set to miss the deadline for completing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and has set December 2017 as the time for the completion of the process, said officials. The first deadline was December 2016 and was revised to March 2017. The Union home ministry had said Assam added 68.21 lakh families for inclusion in the updated register. Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi recently said the enrolment had slowed down under the new BJP government, a charge the government has refuted. A senior government official clarified, “We have directed all the stakeholders to step up the verification process by the end of this year and plan not to give any more extensions. The progress is being closely monitored.”
Home Ministry official said there were no official figures on the number of illegal migrants in Assam. However, the Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had said in the Rajya Sabha in November last year that there were an estimated 2 crore Bangladeshis illegally living in India. Illegal migration is a contentious issue in the Northeast, particularly the influx from Bangladesh. To apply for inclusion in the register, one’s name or the ancestor’s name must be in the 1951 NRC or in any voter list up to the midnight of March 24, 1971, a cut-off date agreed upon.
The ruling BJP that came to power in Assam last year had announced early updation of NRC as one of its poll promises. The State government in its earlier stand before the Supreme Court had said that the process will be completed by December 2016. However, it was later revised to March 2017 and with less than 48 hours remaining for the deadline, MHA revised the deadline on Wednesday.
The order issued by Registrar General and Census Commissioner at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) states, “And whereas the said enumeration in the State of Assam could not be completed within the period specified..the Central Government has considered it necessary and expedient in the public interest to complete the said enumeration in connection with the up-dation of the National Register of Citizens, 1951 by the December 31, 2017.”
Former Assam CM Tarun Gogo recently alleged that NRC enrolment has slowed down under the new BJP government, a charge refuted by BJP. A senior government official clarified, “We have directed all the stakeholders to step up the verification process by the end of this year and plans not to give any more extensions. The progress is being closely monitored.”
Home Ministry official stated that there are no official figures on the number of illegal migrants in Assam. However, the Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had said in the Rajya Sabha in November last year that there were an estimated 2 crores Bangladeshis illegally living in India, a significant rise from the 1.2 crore figure given out by the UPA government in 2004 in the Upper House.
MHA while quoting reports from NRC, Assam added that a total of 68.21 lakh families have applied for inclusion in updated NRC, involving around 3.27 crores persons with 6.67 crore documents submitted. The verification of documents is the first of its kind and lengthy process wherein all documents are being verified through comparison with the original records available with the issuing authorities,” they said.
The illegal migration has been one of the contentious issue in the Northeast as the locals feels threatened by the influx of migrants from the neighboring countries, particularly Bangladesh. The first NRC was prepared in 1951, by recording details of people included in that year’s Census. To comply with the demands in the Assam Accord, it is being updated.
To apply for inclusion in the NRC, one’s name or one’s ancestor’s name must be in the 1951 NRC or in any voter list up to the midnight of March 24, 1971, the cut-off date agreed upon in. The final NRC will contain names of only Indian citizens after a thorough verification, said officials.
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