No NRC draft on June 30, Assam govt moves SC for extension

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, June 28: The much-anticipated final draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam will miss its June 30 deadline, with Assam government moving Supreme Court seeking extension of the deadline.

The apex court will hear the petition on July 2.

Confirming this, NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela on Thursday said it was not possible for the authorities for publication of the draft NRC within the scheduled time, due to the heavy floods in the Barak Valley.

“It is not be possible to publish the draft on the scheduled date of June 30 due to the flood situation in Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts in the Barak Valley, parts of Karbi Anglong and Hojai,” Hajela told reporters here.

Hajela said that a petition was filed in Supreme Court last week, seeking more time to prepare the draft.

“We have made considerable progress in the last few days and will most likely be in a position to publish the draft on the next date fixed by the Supreme Court,” Hajela further said.

He said adequate precautions were being taken to ensure the safety of the documents in the flood-affected areas.

Notably, the Supreme Court had directed the Assam government to complete the process by June 20, including the disposal of claims and objections. However, the authorities had said they could only publish the complete draft by then, after which claims and objections would be taken up, and the final list drawn up.

Source however informed here that the government will seek a week’s time for publication of another draft NRC (not final NRC) in the apex court.

The Supreme Court-monitored update of the NRC began in September 2015 under the then Congress-led state government.

The updated NRC, first published after the 1951 Census, will use March 24 1971 as the cut-off date to identify immigrants from Bangladesh as citizens.

The first draft of the NRC, published on December 31 last year, named around 1.90 crore people out of 3.29 crore applicants. Work has since been on to verify the remaining names.

Meanwhile, security across the state has been stepped up ahead of the publication of the draft and the state government has sought more security forces from the Centre to prevent any untoward incident.

A team of senior government and police officials, led by Chief Secretary T Y Das and director general of police (DGP) Kuladhar Saikia, held four meetings in the lower and central Assam districts to review the law-and-order situation.

Deputy commissioners, superintendents of police, other senior officers of the police, army and paramilitary forces attended those meetings.

 

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