* AASU and ethnic organizations showing no urgency to help the indigenous in Upper Assam and North Bank
* NRC seva kendras busy in Barpeta-Goalpara-Dhubri, AAMSU and minority organizations working overtime
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, April 24: For the greater Assamese society, an error-free, updated tiol Register of Citizens (NRC) is vital to ensure its survival in the face of massive influx of foreigners. But unfortutely, the level of participation of people in the NRC update process is very low particularly in areas domited by indigenous and Assamese people compared to other areas of the State. The alarming possibility of most of their mes being left out from an updated NRC next year is growing more real by the day.
The AASU and other indigenous organizations has for long been demanding an updated NRC for Assam. But now that the process has begun, these organizations are conspicuous by their shocking iction. They have shown absolutely no urgency in helping indigenous and Assamese people go to NRC seva kendras, search for legacy data and access other necessary documents for inclusion into NRC.
This can be contrasted to the urgency and hard work being put in by AAMSU and other minority organizations in helping the people they represent, in the NRC update process.
Although the Tarun Gogoi government is carrying out an extensive awareness campaign on the NRC update all over the State, lukewarm response from people in the indigenous and Assamese inhabited areas is acting as a dampener.
NRC sewa kendras set up in Barpeta, Goalpara and Dhubri districts to help people enrol their mes in the NRC are witnessing numerous footfalls. But the NRC sewa kendras in the indigenous and Assamese domited Upper Assam and North Bank’s Joi, Mahmara, zira, Sadiya, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, North Lakhimpur and other areas are witnessing poor response from the people.
Why are indigenous and Assamese domited areas witnessing such poor response towards the NRC update? Is it due to insufficient awareness campaign by the government, or lack of importance given by local people to a process so vital to their status as proud citizens?
According to official records, about 16.2 lakh people have visited NRC sewa kendras till date, and about 15 lakh people have found their legacy data. “In some places of the State, mistakes have been found in the 1961, 1966 and 1971 voters’ lists. In these voters’ lists, mes of someone’s father is missing, ID code numbers against several mes are missing, as well as other errors,” sources said.
When asked about this issue, official sources said, “The NRC update process is now in its initial stage and that’s why some mistakes have occurred. But all these mistakes will be rectified before publishing the fil NRC.”
For example, before 1971, many Assamese people were residing in Shillong which was then the capital of undivided Assam. These people later came to Assam after its separation from Meghalaya. What will happen to these people when it comes to inclusion of their mes in the NRC, as their mes were not included in the voters’ lists for Assam?
“To include their mes in the NRC, any documentary evidence establishing their stay in Shillong at that period will be sufficient. But what those documents will be are yet to be specified by the Central government,” an official revealed.
Recently, the AASU and 26 other indigenous organizations have taken a decision that they will set up cells for creating awareness on the NRC update issue, but these cells are yet to materialise.
It is high time the AASU and other indigenous organisations take up awareness drives quickly and urgently all over the State, to ensure that the mes of all indigenous and Assamese people are included in the updated NRC. The State government should also carry out NRC awareness campaigns with all sincerity in rural areas of the State.