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Why aren’t cases registered against D-voters?


GUWAHATI, July 7: A latest revelation about the D-voters is a cause of serious concern at a time when the stage is almost set for the publication of the complete draft NRC (National Register of Citizens) on July 30 as directed by the Supreme Court. It has, of late, come to light that quite a number of the already identified doubtful or D-voters have no cases pending against them.

This is a clear violation of the rule according to which the moment a person’s name is included in the ‘D’ or ‘doubtful’ category, then the Foreigners Tribunal (FT) must register a case against the person concerned. But this has not been done with respect to several persons now included in the doubtful voters list.

The onus for committing such a grave error lies on the administration entrusted with the respective district as well as the police administration. The election officer and the border police should intimate the Foreigners Tribunal (FT) of all such cases. But, the manner in which this strategically serious issue has been handled all these years definitely puts a question mark on the functioning of both the mentioned State departments.

Once the Election Commission of India (ECI) assigns the ‘D-voter’ tag against somebody’s name, the case is referred to the FT seeking its opinion. And, the person’s name is included in the voters list only if the FT deems it okay; otherwise the person’s name is left out of the list. What is more, the names of his/her descendents are also left out until a favourable judgement is offered by the Foreigners Tribunal concerned.

The NRC authority has already collected the names of all D-voters LAC-wise from the State Election department.
Talking to The Sentinel, State Coordinator of NRC Prateek Hajela said: “Names of none of the D-voters and their descendents would be included in the complete draft NRC. Their inclusion would be subject to the decision of the Foreigners Tribunals. As of now, any decision on such doubtful voters has been put on hold.”
The concept of D-voter was first included exclusively in the electoral rolls in Assam in 1997.

According to latest reports, altogether 1,25,328 doubtful or D-voters have been included in the electoral roll. The highest number of such voters is in Barpeta district followed by Sonitpur. In Barpeta, Sorbhog Legislative Assembly Constituency (LAC) shows 7,106 D-voters while Jonia LAC has 5,756 names of such people. Similarly in Sonitpur district, Dhekiajuli LAC has 4,987 D-voters.

On the other hand, eight LACs have no doubtful voters. These legislative assemblies are Amguri, Jorhat, Nazira, Titabor, Teok, Sonari, Thowra, and Sibsagar.