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No publication of complete draft NRC on June 30: Hajela

GUWAHATI, June 28:  The first bout of the floods that left a trail of destruction in parts of Assam has also resulted in missing the Supreme Court’s June 30 deadline to publish the complete draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC).

“We cannot publish the complete draft NRC on June 30. The next hearing of the Supreme Court on NRC case scheduled to be held on July 2, will fix a new date of publication of the complete draft NRC. We will report the matter before the apex Court on July 2. The recent floods in the Barak Valley, West Karbi Anglong district and Hojai district since June 13 delayed the last and final phase of work to publish the complete draft NRC by ten days. We tried our level best to meet the SC deadline,” State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela told The Sentinel on Thursday.

Hajela is, however, very optimistic of being able to publish the complete draft NRC at an early date. He said NRC work that was halted by floods in Barak valley, has already restarted. “We will publish the complete draft NRC soon,” he said.

The NRC is being updated taking March 25, 1971, as the cut-off date as per the tripartite agreement signed among the Centre, State Government and All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) way back on May 5, 2005. It is expected that after updating the NRC, it will become easier to detect illegal Bangladeshi migrants in Assam who had sneaked into the State after March 25, 1971, as per the Assam Accord signed on August 15, 1985, as the culmination of the Assam Agitation against illegal migrants in the State.

The partial draft NRC was published on the expiry of December 31 midnight in 2017 by including the names of 1.90 crore applicants. Altogether 3.29 crore people had applied to enroll their names in the update NRC. The NRC 1951 is being updated in the State under the supervision of the Supreme Court to solve the vexed illegal foreigners’ problem.

Though the Supreme Court of India had fixed June 30, 2018, as the date for publication of the complete draft NRC, yet it did give some relaxation to the NRC authority on timelines in an order issued by it on May 8.

In its order issued on May 8, the Supreme Court of India said: “We take note of the fact that the learned State Coordinator is optimistic of completion of the entire process of final publication of NRC within the stipulated time, subject to limited change of timelines if required.”

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Siddharth Deb