Allaying fears ahead of the release of the first draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam, the Centre said that there is “no need to panic” for those who get left out in the first “part draft” and they will be covered in the next round of verification. Assam is on the edge ahead of the publication of the draft on New Year’s eve and security forces are being deployed in different districts, especially in sensitive pockets.
Home Ministry officials working with the state government has also initiated an IEC (Information-Education and Communication) campaign in Assam to counter any rumours. “As many as 2,500-3,000 centres have been set up across Assam where these updated names in NRC will be displayed. Simultaneously, we are sending SMSes and urging people to register their mobile numbers with the NRC,” a senior home ministry official said, adding that genuine Indians missing from the citizenship register would get enough opportunities to incorporate their names.
The Counter Insurgency (CI) grid, involving the Army, police, paramilitary and intelligence agencies, has been regularly reviewing the situation and has directed all possible action to ensure peace after the publication of the draft NRC, he added. Army has been alerted and will be called if necessary to assist the administration in case of any trouble, said the official.
Sources, however, said that there are intelligence reports indicating communal tension in some parts of the state where names of doubtful citizens could be excluded in the draft list. Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba along with Registrar General of India last week, reviewed the preparations for the publication of the part draft of the NRC and security arrangements.
Officials said the exercise to update the NRC is being carried out in Assam following a decision in 2005 after a series of meetings between the central and state governments and the All Assam Students’ Union in an attempt to document bona fide Indian citizens living in the state. Assam, which has faced influx from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.