The starkness of being nowhere Some 2,500 Nagarik Seva Kendras (NSKs) in Assam began issuing claim, objection and correction forms on Friday for people excluded from the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on July 30.NRC officials could not specify how many forms were collected, but they expect the pace of collecting forms to pick up within a week.‘Insufficient evidence’Nearly 40 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants had been left out of the complete draft because of the lack of sufficient documentary evidence of their citizenship, officials said. They can reapply through the claims form, while those whose names have been misspelt can use the correction form.The objection form is for those who suspect the nationality of a person and feel he or she does not deserve to be on the final, error-free NRC.Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the government had completed only 30% of the work related to the NRC.Also Read “Preparation of the NRC will take a long time, and by the time it is completed, people’s perception about it may change. People should not come to any final conclusion at this juncture, when only 30% work is done,” he said at a function in Agartala on Friday.“People whose names are missing from the NRC can apply again with valid documents. Then there are the courts to file objections later. There is no need to panic or create unrest,” Mr. Sarma said.He advised tribal political parties in Tripura, such as the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, an ally of the ruling BJP, to wait for the “expensive” Assam exercise to be completed successfully before demanding the NRC for their State.Hindi handicapThe Assam Pradesh Congress Committee has asked the NRC authorities to designate officers who can read Hindi and Urdu documents submitted by applicants at the Kendras. “Hundreds of Hindi-speaking people from central and northern India could not find a place in the final draft of the NRC as they had submitted documents either in Hindi or Urdu,” APCC spokesperson Gauravv Somani said.“Various delegations of the Hindi-speaking community met Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to apprise him of the difficulties faced by them in this process of updating the NRC,” Mr. Somani said, clarifying that the Congress was in favour of a foreigner-free NRC.The NRC authorities had sent 5.7 lakh documents to 25 States and Union Territories that had issued certificates to people from those States and UTs residing in Assam. Most such documents were not verified, and those that were sent were not accepted because NRC officials could not read the language, Mr. Somani said.Left suggestsThe Assam State Committee of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has provided the government with a few suggestions for preparing the Standard Operating Procedure for claims and objections pertaining to the NRC Assam. These include acceptance of marriage and migration certificates by competent authorities, and application of the family tree mechanism to include the children of poor, illiterate people who do not have documents to establish linkage with their parents.“Panchayat certificates issued to married women for establishing linkage with their parents were rejected as most panchayats or village headmen do not maintain a register. If the citizenship of other members of the family is proved by same legacy as submitted by the married women, her name should be included in the NRC,” the CPI(M) said in a statement.The CPI(M) also said the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) should be kept on hold till the NRC is finalised. Assam has 100 FTs where the cases of people declared doubtful voters or suspected as foreigners are tried.“The names found eligible for inclusion in the NRC should be included. Excluded names may be sent to the FTs after the NRC process is over,” the party said, adding that a government-funded DNA test should be done after all measures are exhausted.Soldiers’ pleaFive retired and serving soldiers have written to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking his intervention to ensure that Armed Forces personnel are not excluded from the final NRC.“We ex-servicemen, being bona fide citizens of India and natives of Assam, applied for inclusion of our names along with our family members in the draft NRC. Some ex-servicemen and their family members have been dropped from the draft NRC without any perceptible reason despite using legacy data such as the 1951 NRC and voters’ lists up to 1971 as per the guidelines,” the petition signed by retired honorary Captain Sana Ullah and four others said.
A group of disgruntled leaders of Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party announced the launch of a new outfit, accusing the leadership of reducing the party to a “private limited company”.Mr. Paswan played down the development, saying “let them go”. Led by LJP national general secretaries Satyanand Sharma and Anil Kumar Paswan, and treasurer Ramesh Chandra Kapoor, the rebel leaders announced the formation of LJP (Secular).