GUWAHATI: A large number of people in Lower Assam districts were asked by the National Register of Citizens (NRC) authorities to appear for hearing within 48 hours in faraway districts of Upper Assam to prove their citizenship, Congress MLAs claimed here on Sunday.
Congress legislators led by leader of opposition Debabrata Saikia wrote to NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela, the chief secretary and the director-general of police urging them to arrange for vehicles for those who have to attend the hearings between Monday and Wednesday.
Numerous people from Lower Assam areas such as Barpeta, Goalpara, Chenga, Boko and Chaygaon have been served notices to reach faraway Upper Assam districts, including Golaghat, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Charaideo, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji, the MLAs said.
"Most of these people do not own vehicles and it is difficult for them to find adequate public transportation facilities at such short notice," the MLAs wrote to Hajela in the letter which was made available to the media.
As some political leaders are branding a specific section of the people as foreigners only on suspicion, they were wary of likely attempts of vested interests to waylay them en route to the venues of hearing and snatch their documents, the Congress leaders claimed in the letter.
"Therefore, we request you kindly to instruct the Deputy Commissioners concerned to requisition an adequate number of buses, etc. to transport these hapless people to and fro the venues of hearing," the letter read.
The legislators also urged Hajela to instruct the district administrations concerned to arrange for security persons to accompany the vehicles.
In a separate letter to the chief secretary, Saikia said, "It is difficult to fathom why these people have been summoned virtually from one end of Assam to another even though the NRC process is digitized and consequently the necessary procedure could have been carried out in the nearest district, if not the nearest NRC centre."
Meanwhile, the affected people at Chaygaon in Kamrup district burnt effigies of Hajela and burnt copies of the notice served to them to appear for hearing in faraway areas.
The opposition All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) also protested against it.