Do Not Panic, Says Assam NRC Coordinator After Updated List Leaves Out Several Names

For the Bengali-speaking Muslims of Assam or the Muslim minority of East Bengal origin, this could be their last chance to prove their citizenship and live a life with dignity.

New Delhi: National Register of Citizens Assam coordinator and state Home Secretary Prateek Hajela has asked people whose names haven’t featured in the list to not panic.

Incidentally, Hajela’s name is also missing from the updated NRC.

Hajela said though his name has not come, his wife’s name is there in the NRC and this is true for a lot of households.

“People like us, whose names are not there don’t have to do anything. The names are not there because this is a work in progress. The verification process is still on,” Hajela said.

“Generally, the perception amongst common people is that you need to go to the government offices and get your name enlisted if it hasn’t come in. But here you don’t have to do anything. The verification will take place on its own and once it is done, the list would be updated,” he added.

However, despite such assurances, several instances of people crowding seva kendras were reported from across the state.

The NRC authorities have also begun a massive publicity exercise, through television ads, newspaper ads and social media campaigns, asking the residents of Assam to not to worry. NRC Seva Kendra staff will also be campaigning in the villages, hold public meetings and distribute pamphlets.

Among those left out of the first draft are 48 lakh residents who gave certificates from panchayat pradhans as residence proof. The Supreme Court on December 5 overturned the Gauhati High Court order which refused to accept panchayat pradhan certificates as an identity proof.

Thus, these 48 lakh residents can breathe easy as the Supreme Court declared the panchayat certificate to be a valid document. Their names did not figure in the NRC as Hajela says, “The Supreme Court has asked us to do elaborate checks. We haven’t yet started the process. It will begin in the coming days.”

All eyes are on the next list of revised NRC as over 1.9 crore citizens of Assam are eagerly waiting to see if their names have come up or not. The NRC authorities had received applications from a total of 3.29 crore people who had submitted 6 crore documents. The next date would be decided by the apex court, which has been constantly monitoring the case.