GUWAHATI: Thousands of Muslim families in Assam, who have already made it to the complete draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC), are being issued fresh notices by NRC authorities for the re-verification of their citizenship documents, alleged an organisation.
The Brahmaputra Valley Civil Society (BVCS) alleged that the families, which received the notices from NRC Seva Kendras (NSKs) two days ago, had been asked to depose before NSKs, located in faraway places, for re-verification of documents.
To substantiate its charge, the organisation produced some freshly-issued notices. The development comes just days after Assam’s BJP-led coalition government had come down heavily on NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela on the high inclusion of names of people in NRC in the Muslim-majority districts including those bordering Bangladesh.
“Thousands of Muslim families across Assam, which have already made it to NRC, received the notices. They were given just two days time to depose before NSKs in places which are 400 km away. What is more worrying is that they were asked to come with all their family members, no matter where they live,” BVCS leader and senior Gauhati High Court lawyer, Hafiz Rashid Ahmed Choudhury, told journalists on Sunday.
He said earlier the Supreme Court had issued an order wherein it was clearly mentioned that the NSKs, where people are called for deposition, should be within a convenient distance.
“We suspect that Prateek Hajela has been scared into issuing the fresh notices or some forces are doing this. When he himself had told the Supreme Court recently that re-verification of documents has been already done covering 27 per cent of the applicants, under whose direction the fresh notices were being served to people,” Choudhury asked.
He was also critical of the Assam government’s disclosure of district-wise NRC figures of inclusion and exclusion in the Assembly.
“There are two parties in the NRC process – Supreme Court and NRC authorities. The matter is sub-judice. The state’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister (Chandra Mohan Patowary) cannot make public the classified data. Where did the government get the data from? We are in touch with some organisations which will move the Supreme Court to say that the disclosure was contempt of court,” Choudhury said.
He alleged that the state government was opposed to NRC and awaiting the retirement of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Meanwhile, a Guwahati-based citizens’ forum called Sachetan Nagarik Mancha has asked the NRC coordinator to disclose the procedures based on which the re-verification of citizenship documents of 27 per cent of the applicants was done.
“We want him to reveal the process since NRC involves the security of Assam and the country. Did he publicise the drive? Who did he inform and who the witnesses were?” the Mancha asked.
The state government also said recently that it was not aware of the re-verification process.