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State Election Panel Directs Districts to Prepare Latest Lists

State Election Panel Directs Districts to Prepare Latest Lists

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  18 Aug 2018 5:02 AM GMT



GUWAHATI, Aug 17: In a double bid to not only help prepare the error-free final NRC but also the electoral rolls for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the State Election Department has directed the District Election Officials (DEOs) to prepare the latest lists of D voters in their respective areas.

The move assumes significance also against the backdrop of feedback received by the election department that despite cases being disposed off, the tag of ‘D voter’ has not been removed against the names of some citizens of India. Hence, the election department has further asked the DEOs to review such cases and include such names while preparing the list of D voters.

There are also instances where cases are still pending with respect to many people identified as D voters. The DEOs would now have to screen all these cases while preparing the up-to-date list of such people.

The State Election Department would compile a compact list from the reviewed lists and submit it to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for preparation of the draft electoral roll slated to come out in October 2018. The first part of the final electoral roll is scheduled to be published on January 4, 2019.

The D voter, sometimes also referred to as ‘Dubious voter’ or ‘Doubtful voter’, is a category of voters in Assam who are disenfranchised by the government on account of their alleged lack of proper citizenship credentials. The persons marked as D voters are barred from contesting elections and casting their votes.

The concept of ‘D voter’ was first used during the preparation of electoral rolls in 1997. On 17 July 1997, the ECI issued a circular to the Government of Assam directing it to remove the non-citizens from the electoral list. Following that, an intensive revision of electoral rolls began in Assam, involving door-to-door survey in order to enlist only genuine Indian citizens. The persons who could not provide evidence in favour of their Indian nationality were marked with ‘D’ in the electoral rolls, to indicated doubtful or disputed status of their Indian nationality. During the survey, the absentee voters too were marked with ‘D’. Around 2,44,144 persons were thus declared as ‘D voters’ by the ECI. On the other hand, the total number of such D voters as per the latest electoral rolls as on February 2018 was 1,25,328.

In 2011, the Gauhati High Court ordered the cases of D voters to be transferred to Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) set up under Foreigners Tribunal Order 1964 and the identified D voters be kept in detention camps. The rule applies to the descendents of D voters as well.

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