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‘No’ to family members of declared foreigners in NRC

BANGLADESHI FREE NRC

STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 9:  Concerned over increasing reports and allegations that illegal Bangladeshis are trying out all fraudulent options to enroll their names in the updated NRC in Assam, the authority updating the citizens’ register has taken up strong and effective strategies to thwart such moves of illegal foreigners.
As part of such strategies, State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela recently wrote to all deputy commissioners not to include names of brothers, sisters and other family members of foreigners declared so by the Foreigners’ Tribunals in the updated NRC. Hajela, in his letter, stated that the superintendents of police (Border) are required to make references of such persons and their names will not be included in the updated NRC until finalization of such references. Local Registrar of Citizens Registration (LRCR) will have to keep eligibility status of all such persons pending till decision of their Indian citizenship as confirmed by the Foreigners’ Tribunals concerned, similar to the procedure for D-voters.
Hajela, in his letter to DCs, has quoted the Gauhati High Court’s judgment May 2, 2017 which said, “Once a proceedee is declared to be a foreigner, it would only be a logical corollary to such declaration that his brothers, sisters and other family members would also be foreigners.”  
Many organizations and individuals last month raised questions about the fairness of the NRC update exercise when the name of a person who was earlier declared a foreigner by a court was found to have been enrolled in the partial draft NRC published on the midnight of December 31. The NRC is being updated in Assam to weed out illegal immigrants. In the partial draft NRC list, more than 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore total applicants have been recognized as legal citizens of India, and Ali Ahmed, a declared foreigner, is among them.
Ahmed was declared an illegal immigrant by a Foreigners’ Tribunal in Sivasagar district in 2011, a verdict which was later upheld by the Gauhati High Court too.
The State NRC coordinator has also instructed the DCs to ensure fresh efforts by the SPs of respective districts to ascertain the whereabouts of all declared foreigners. The DCs will have to coordinate with the SPs to ascertain whether those in the detention camps had applied for NRC enrolment or not. In case those in detention camps had applied for NRC enrolment, the SPs would have to collect their 21-digit Application Receipt Number (ARN) details.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday reiterated that the second and final draft NRC must be published on June 30.