BY Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 23: Ever since the exercise to update the tiol Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam began under the supervision of the Supreme Court, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has been claiming from the rooftops that he is the driving force behind this exercise because 'it is in the interest of the people of the State'. Now in a desperate bid to cling on to power at any cost, Gogoi seems to be taking a sharp U-turn which threatens to undo the entire NRC update process.
Seemingly at the behest of a section of Congress MLAs, Gogoi has now decided to shoot off a letter to the Central government, demanding inclusion of all persons whose mes appeared on the electoral rolls of the country by virtue of them 'being Indians', in the updated NRC.
Significantly, Gogoi has carefully avoided mentioning which year's electoral rolls should now be considered as a basic document. Sources have pointed out that a section of Congress leaders have long been demanding that inclusion of me in the 2014 electoral rolls should be deemed sufficient for inclusion in NRC. It seems Gogoi has at last given in to their pressure and decided to write to the Modi government about his altered stand.
As of now, the 1951 NRC and electoral rolls up to 1971 are considered the basic documents for inclusion into NRC as far as legacy data is concerned.
Chairing a review meeting on the NRC update in his official chamber at the Secretariat in Dispur today, Chief Minister Gogoi said that 'genuine Indian citizens whose mes figure in the electoral rolls' should be included in the NRC.
Reacting to the CM's reported move, Assam Public Works (APW) chairman Abhijeet Sharma told The Sentinel: "It is already fixed that those whose mes figure in electoral rolls up to 1971 and their descendents will be included in the updated NRC. So what is the point in the Assam Chief Minister writing to the Government of India to take steps for including all persons whose mes have appeared in the electoral rolls? We will never accept electoral rolls after 1971 because we strongly suspect that these contain the mes of large numbers of foreigners."
Sharma further added: "If Gogoi intends to make the 2014 electoral roll the base document for updating the NRC, he will be making a costly blunder."
Meanwhile in a simultaneous bid to mollify some indigenous tribal communities about their apprehensions with the NRC update exercise, Gogoi said in today's review meeting that there is 'no need for apprehensions among people belonging to tea tribes, scheduled tribes, minorities and other ethnic communities as the government will take all possible steps to ensure that their mes are included in the NRC'.
It may be mentioned that leading tribal organizations in the State are demanding that as origil inhabitants of the land, the mes of all persons of such communities should be straightaway included in the revised and updated NRC.