Publication of the final draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) is in its final stages in Assam with the document scheduled to be released on July 30, authorities said, adding that people whose names are not in the list will have ample scope to file their claims.
On the sidelines of an event in Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that the affected people will get adequate opportunities to register their claims and objections after the release of the draft and there was “no reason for worry”.
The first draft was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, with the names of 1.9 crore of the 3.29 crore applicants being incorporated. The second draft was scheduled to come out on June 30 but was delayed by a month.
“No one should be worried about it (the release of the draft NRC). People will get adequate time to register claims and objections and if someone is not satisfied, they can also approach the foreigners tribunal,” Singh said. “I can say that there is no reason for worry,” Singh said. The Home Ministry on Wednesday asked the Assam government not to take any action against those whose names do not figure in the list of the state’s citizens.
However, as the process nears completion, there are apprehensions about the fate of those who do not find a mention in the NRC.
NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela clarified that those who do not find their names in the list can approach their respective NRC Seva Kendras (NSK) and procure an application form to file claims. Forms for claims and corrections will be available at NSKs from August 7 and can be filed between August 30 and September 28.
“This is a draft, a first-cut. This is not the end of the NRC process. Some people are saying that those who will not be in the final NRC will be put in detention camps. This is absolutely wrong and a total misconception,” Hajela said.
There have also been allegations of bias against minorities in the process. On July 12, a petition launched on the online campaign platform Avaaz had alleged that “7 million Muslims in Assam” would be excluded from the NRC and that they would be “left to rot in prison camps”.
Hajela said the content of the petition is “absolutely incorrect and seeks to spread misinformation about a very serious and sensitive issue”.
“There is no question of religion coming into play in deciding the citizenship of an applicant,” Hajela said.
However, civil society groups have said that those excluded from the draft will file claims based on the same documents that were rejected earlier.
Hajela said, “This draft is not a final thing, our decision is not final at this stage. You can come and say that a proper examination was not done or that I was not able to present my case properly or that I want to bring fresh evidence…”
Meanwhile, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), led by MP and perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal, has said that it will provide logistic help to people to file their claims. “We will be providing help to genuine Indians to file their claims and we are organising help centres,” said Aminul Islam, general secretary of the AIUDF.