NRC Petitioner Cries Foul Over Inclusion of 'Illegal Bangladeshi Migrants' in List, Demands Probe

New Delhi: Assam Public Works, the main petitioner of NRC in the Supreme Court, has demanded that the entire National Register of Citizens (NRC) process be investigated by government nodal agencies to detect anomalies in the inclusion of illegal Bangladeshis, justify the large expenditure of allocated funds by the Centre and the outsourced recruitment of officers for the exercise.

"We will submit two different affidavits in the Supreme Court stating these demands," said Abhijit Sarma, president of APW, addressing the press in Delhi. The affidavit will state the need to form a high level judicial committee to investigate the exercise.

This demand comes after the final NRC, published on August 31, excluded 19 lakh people. Several civil society groups, including the AASU, APW, and the BJP-led state government are unhappy with the final list. They allege that the final list excluded many "sons of the soil" or groups unique to the state like the Koch, Rabha, Gogoi, Rajbangshi, Bodo, Tiwa, Mishing, Karbi, Deuri, etc.

"Why do the indigenous people of Assam have to spend their own hard money to queue up in front of the Foreigners Tribunal to include their names in the citizenship registry? This will be greatest injustice and a huge insult faced by the indigenous people in their struggle to preserve their fundamental rights," said Sarma.

Alleging that illegal Bangaldeshi foreigners were included in the final NRC and that "these are people who spread religious fundamentalism in society" and indulge in terrorist activities, Sharma demanded that the citizenship exercise be investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

"It is a matter of grave concern that some people who have been identified as Bangladeshis earlier were included in the NRC," he said, alleging that the claim of NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela of 27 per cent reverification is weak and full of flaws.

"It is a clear offence and the state coordinator is personally guilty of the same, as he misguided the Supreme Court by assuring no need of another reverification," he added.

The main petitioner also demand that the Enforcement Directorate should be allowed to investigate the Rs 1,600 crore expenditure of the exercise, which is claimed to be riddled with faults.

"The expenditure and data of the NRC must be taken under the jurisdiction of the Right to Information Act," Sarma said.

"More than money, it is the technology used in the process which is greater matter of concern; whether third party IT companies like WIPRO were properly audited or not by IT experts or the government," he added, demanding a CBI investigation on the same.

The APW, in its third demand has sought the intervention of the CBI to investigate the recruitment process of the data entry operators and officers involved in the process.

The 19 lakh people excluded have been given a window of 120 days to approach the FTs to prove their citizenship. Once declared a foreigner, however, a person can be detained under Section 4 of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

While there are 1,100 detainees currently in the state, there are only six detention centres, which run out of district jails, to house them. The first exclusive detention centre is under construction in Goalpara at the cost of around Rs 460 million and can house upto 3,000 detainees.