The much-awaited second and final draft of Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC) was released on Monday amid tight security. Out of a total of 3.29 crore people, 2,89,83,677 (two crore eighty nine lakh, eighty three thousand six hundred and seventy seven) people have been found eligible to be included in the National Register of Citizens. The names of 40.07 lakh applicants did not find a place in the historic document, touted to be a proof of Assamese identity. However, officials have asked people not to worry as this is just a final draft and they can file claims if they are residents of the state. "This is just a draft, and not the final list. The people who are not included can make claims and objections," State NRC Coordinator said on Monday.
While releasing the data, the officials yet again reassured that no one will be sent to detention centres on the basis of the draft and residents can file for claims. "Based on this draft there is no question of any reference to Foreigners Tribunal or any person being taken to the detention centre," Satyendra Garg, Joint Secretary (North East) said. Every person whose name was in the first draft but is missing from the final draft will be given an individual letter to file the claim for her/his non-inclusion during claims and objections.
The NRC has been released online and in all the NRC Sewa Kendras (NSK) across the state. It will feature the names, addresses and photographs of all Indian citizens, who have been residing in the north eastern state before March 25, 1971.
Anticipating the probability of a law and order situation following the publication of the draft, security has been beefed up across the state. Prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in seven districts-- Barpeta, Darrang, Dima Hasao, Sonitpur, Karimganj, Golaghat and Dhubri.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had held a high-level meeting recently on the NRC draft release and directed the officers to remain alert and help and explain the process of claims and objections to people whose names do not appear in the draft. Sonowal had also directed the officials not to refer any case to the Foreigners' Tribunal based on the NRC draft list.
In an all-party meeting, the CM called it a "historic moment" and requested people to not believe in any rumours, which can incite violence. "People are requested to not believe in any rumors as all of them will be treated as Indian citizens and not foreigners. Nobody needs to go to the detention camp. 55,000 people from the government have been working on this since last few years. Assam is the first state of India where NRC has been updated. It`s a historic moment for the people of Assam. I want to thank them in helping us throughout. In every district, on every circle there will be a control room to help people," he said.
People have been advised not to panic if their names are not included in their names stating that "genuine citizens" should not worry. "All aggrieved will be heard. Entire process is being carried out under direct monitoring of Hon Supreme Court. Maintain peace. All genuine Indian citizens will be protected," Assam Minister Himanta Biswas Sharma said.
If a person's name does not appear in the draft, they have to apply in prescribed forms in their respective NSKs. These forms will be available from August 7 to September 28 and the authorities will then inform them the reason for their names being left out.
The next step will be to file the claim in another prescribed form which will be available from August 30 to September 28 and these claims will be finally disposed of after proper hearings. The applicants can also call 24x7 toll free numbers--15107 from Assam and 18003453762 from outside Assam-- by referring to their 21-digit Application Receipt Number (ARN). The applicants can also check their names by visiting the NRC website and through SMSs.
The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) has taken a special initiative to set up a 24-hour control room at its central office in Guwahati to help people.
The NRC is being updated under the Supreme Court supervision with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for genuine Indian citizens in Assam. The first draft of the ongoing NRC process was released at the midnight of December 31, 2017. It comprised 1.9 crore names out of the total application of 3.29 crore people in Assam.