Ahead of elections in Assam early next year, senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday told the media that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published in August last year is “fundamentally wrong” and a new exercise will start after the elections if the Supreme Court allows.
Sarma also said that “modern Mughals” — without defining the term — had entered every aspect of life in Assam and a long political fight was needed to stop them. “The fight to remove the ‘adhunik’ (modern) Mughal from Assam will be long… if we can fight them for another five years, it will be enough to defeat them,” he said, adding that “delimitation and NRC” were essential for the fight.
Sarma reiterated the allegation that the former NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela, who was transferred to Madhya Pradesh last year by the Supreme Court after his relationship with the state government deteriorated — was instrumental in preparing a “fundamentally wrong NRC”.
The NRC has excluded 19 lakh applicants, including a sizeable number of Hindus.
“Yes, the SC monitored the NRC exercise, but Prateek Hajela manipulated it in such a way that, we can say, the thief was made the police. He prepared a fundamentally wrong NRC. After elections, a new NRC exercise will be undertaken if the SC allows. We are already seeking the SC’s permission to allow re-verification of included names,” Sarma said.
The state government has appealed to the Supreme Court for a re-verification of the names included in the NRC — 20 per cent of included names in border districts and 10 per cent elsewhere.
In July last year, the Assam government and the Centre petitioned the SC for such a re-verification exercise but that was not accepted by the apex court after Hajela submitted that re-verification of 27 per cent names was already done. Top ministers and officials have reiterated that the state government sticks to its demand for such a re-verification. The SC had mentioned the prospect of sample re-verification in an order in 2018, saying that the court could consider re-verifying 10 per cent of the names included in the second draft of the NRC.
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