Debabrata Saikia | PTI
GUWAHATI: The Congress has pointed out "deficiencies" in the final NRC list, but not summarily rejected the document as it marks an important preliminary step towards "ridding" Assam of illegal migrants, opposition leader in the state assembly Debabrata Saikia said on Monday.
The party would use the updated final list as legitimate means to ensure that genuine Indian citizens obtain justice and their names are included in the NRC, he said in a statement here.
"I wish to make it clear that although the Congress has pointed out certain deficiencies in the final NRC, yet we believe it marks an important preliminary step towards ridding Assam of illegal migrants," Saikia said.
The party had intervened more than once in the Supreme Court during the NRC updatation process, when genuine Indian citizens faced harassment, the statement said. It was Congress-led governments at the Centre and the state, which had initiated the process in 2005 after tripartite discussions with AASU, it added.
Although the Congress-led governments could not complete the updatation exercise due to several factors, there is "no question of the Congress rejecting the NRC," Saikia said.
"At the same time, it is also the government's duty to come up with a mechanism whereby genuine citizens omitted from the NRC can ensure inclusion of their names, without having to approach the FTs or the higher judiciary," he said.
Saikia also expressed surprise that the ruling BJP in Assam had contradictory views on the final NRC, with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal terming it as a "historic document", while his ministerial colleague Himanta Biswa Sarma and the party's state unit president Ranjit Kumar Dass rejected the list as an "useless document".
The 19,06,659 people omitted from the NRC include numerous bonafide Indian citizens, such as members of the tea community, the Gorkhas and various other tribes and ethnic communities.
In many cases, some members of a specific family have been left out of the NRC, despite using the same legacy data as relatives who have been included in the document, he said.
Incumbent MLAs and relatives of well-known freedom fighters have also been excluded from the NRC in the "most surprising manner", the statement said.
"Nevertheless, these anomalies can be rectified in the coming days provided the government, NRC authority and eventually the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) all work impartially with a common purpose," the opposition leader in the state assembly said.
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) has resolved to extend legal and other assistance to safeguard the rights of genuine Indian citizens, who have been excluded from the document, Saikia said.