Final draft was due 30 June but state coordinator had sought extension on grounds that flood had affected NRC work.
New Delhi: Authorities in Assam said they won’t seek any further extensions from the Supreme Court to publish the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) and added that the list will be “100 per cent” out by the month-end. This came after the Supreme Court Monday extended its June 30 deadline for publishing the complete draft by a month.
While the final draft was due to be out on 30 June, the Assam coordinator for NRC had moved the Supreme Court last week seeking an extension on grounds that the flood situation in the state did not allow the NRC work to be completed.
“The final draft will 100 per cent be out on 30 July. Things are well in control. There is no problem from the process point of view. It will not get delayed any further,” NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela told ThePrint.
According to Hajela, the verification process has been completed and the exercise of data entry of the verified applications is on. He added that even this process is also “nearly over”.
“It is difficult to say what percentage of the exercise overall is complete since there are different stages to it. For instance, taking print-outs of the 22 lakh pages (with names), with three copies of each page, will also take four to five days,” said Hajela.
The apex court had directed the Assam government to complete the entire process by 30 June, 2018, including disposing of claims and objections, but authorities had told the court that they would only be able to publish the complete draft list by then. The complete draft is usually followed by the due process of claims and objections — whose time-frame will depend on the number of applications received — only after which can a final list be drawn up.
The Supreme Court-monitored NRC updation exercise in Assam began in September 2015 under the then Congress government and was taken forward by the BJP government that came to power in May 2016.
The NRC, first published after the 1951 Census, is being updated keeping 24 March, 1971, as the cut-off date, to identify those who immigrated to Assam illegally from Bangladesh after that date. The first part draft of NRC, published on 31 December last year, had names of about 1.90 crore people of the total 3.29 crore applicants. Work has since been on to verify the remaining names.
The updation process is a delicate social and political issue in the state since it aims at identifying illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. ‘Outsiders’ have always been a major source of resentment for ethnic Assamese. This was also one of BJP’s key promises ahead of the 2016 assembly election. The fear in the state among some sections of minorities, however, has been that even the ethnic minorities would be targeted under the pretext of singling out illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.