GUWAHATI, Aug 26: Senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika has raised a few questions on institutional-level discrepancies in the complete draft NRC. He says that such discrepancies cannot be resolved through claims and objections and they need evaluation, investigation and fresh verification in border districts and areas dominated by migrants in the State.
Talking to the media at Guwahati Press Club here on Sunday, Hazarika said: “There are fundamental flaws at the institutional and verification level, resulting in the inclusion of a large number of foreigners, including foreigners declared by tribunals and thousands in Dhubri alone. The primary reason is reliance on field verification as the ultimate test for inclusion, even though documents show otherwise,” he said, and added that a classic case is that of Manowara Bewa, a declared foreigner. “Her application is processed and passes all tests of authentication of List-A, List-B documents, family-tree verification including verification of her presence in the house by the visiting team when she is in the detention camp. It was an alert official who barred her name from entering the NRC,” he said.
Hazarika has further said that persons with non-compliant documents have been included only on the basis of three neighbours identifying them even when the names of legacy persons does not match. Statements of witnesses are taken to overwrite objections.
Hazarika said that field verification reports are not subjected to any quality-checks both at the initial and final stage. “The surprising fact is that none of these verification reports has been digitized when all other documents have been and overreliance on verification reports when primary statutory documents are non-compliant,” he said.
He said that the sensitivities of border districts and migrant-dominated areas have not been accounted for, with foreigner identifying citizens, or those from the same ethnic stock which have continuously objected and stalled the identification process. “Reports from a large number of centres say that that a significant number of applicants rejected at the NSK or other districts have been included in the final draft list, showing that data entry operators keyed in wrong data,” he said, and added:
“Personnel involved in the process are unanimous of the view that border districts and migrant-dominated areas have seen huge subversion and a re-verification and re-evaluation in these areas are a prerequisite for a correct NRC. Such information as has been provided to me is not in the public domain and within the knowledge of the NRC authorities. It is imperative that an honest assessment and investigation is carried out, without the usual cover-up because what is at stake is the future of the indigenous community in Assam who are on their way to becoming a minority under the weight of infiltration.”
Hazarika also said that he had sent a memorandum to the Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner and the State NRC Coordinator on such issues.