GUWAHATI: With only two working days –Saturday and Monday – left for the ongoing NRC (National Register of Citizens) claims-and-objections exercise, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and various other organizations have undertaken their last-ditch effort to help maximum number genuine citizens excluded from the complete draft NRC to file their claims.
Out of 40 lakh plus applicants whose names did not figure in the complete draft, around 27 lakh have so far filed claims. Many indigenous, ethnic people and other genuine citizens have not yet filed claims to enroll their names in the final NRC owing to various reasons, including lack of documents. Some indigenous and ethnic people argue that they need not file claims and their names must be included in the final NRC on the ground that they are sons of the soil.
But since the NRC update is purely a legal exercise under the supervision of the Supreme Court, those who do not file claims will lose the opportunity to enroll their names in the final NRC even if they are sons of the soil. Sensing the urgency the AASU and many other minority organizations are carrying out massive awareness campaign on a war footing to convince the people to file NRC claims. The AASU is also helping the people with legal aid and other expertise to help filing claims at the earliest. Awareness campaigns are being held at market places and door-to-door in many places in lower Assam.
Volunteers of Sambidhan Sevak, an initiative of human rights activist and former National Human Rights Commission monitor for minorities Harsh Mander, have embarked on a door-to-door loudspeaker campaign to alert people on filing of claims in Barpeta district. Two teams are moving in autorickshaws fitted with loudspeakers and stopping at village chowks and marketplaces, urging people to come out and file their claims before the December 31 deadline. They have also set up help desks near the NRC seva kendras (NSKs) where volunteers are helping the unlettered fill up their claims forms.
Sambidhan Sevak volunteers said they found that there are nearly 1,500 people in the places they visited who have not filed their claims owing to a lack of understanding of the process, failure to provide legacy linkage, technical error and other reasons.
On the other hand, if any person provides false information or furnishes false particulars in the ongoing NRC claim-and-objection phase, he/she may be slapped with penalties – imprisonment or with fine or with both.
Enrollment of names in the final NRC will be a do-or-die issue for many as the governments, both in Delhi and Dispur, have not spelt out any measure to be taken for those left out from such vital citizenship document.
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