By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) final draft is released today in Assam, (30 July 2018) in accordance with Supreme Court order. Thanks to hon’ble SC of India for it’s strong and decisive stand to bring out the draft list by all means. It is only because of SC that the NRC process, which began in 2013 under Gogoi led Congress Govt., could come out with only 50 percent work done in five years under Sonowal led BJP Govt. Assam’s people are therefore, sceptical and are expressing views in so so or fifty fifty modes. The NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela deserves appreciation for his personal sincerity and hardwork. His teamwork could have been better. He is failed by the state machinery. Apathy, interference and untrained BLOs affected Hajela’s performance. The sole objective of the NRC has been to prepare a list in which all genuine Indians are included and all foreigners are excluded, once and for all, and settle the foreigners or illegal Bangladeshi migrants issue forever from Assam. The draft list achieved only part of the objective, it could have scored better today if the state machinery would have performed more professionally. Stricking off 40 lakh people’s names from the draft is a big issue. There are number of cases, rather lapses which make no sense. These typical set of clerical, executional or official lapses could surely be avoided to make the list a smooth step towards achieving the real objective by reducing number of genuine citizen’s names left out from the draft list. To explain it, let me put two clear cases here. One of my students from Hojai district of Assam told me in the class today that he is worried because his mother’s name is not listed in the final draft of NRC in Assam. The lady’s father, mother, brothers and sisters from parent’s side are listed. Similarly her husband, sons and daughters from in laws side, all are also listed. Moreover, her name appeared many times as daughter, wife and mother, in linkage data, in this very NRC list, but her own name got struck off as citizen from the draft! It is quite peculiar, as if the children directly came from heaven or the lady has given birth to all these children, who all are adult now, being in abroad – both are impossible situations in common sense. However, this uncommon has already happened in today’s complete draft released by the Govt. in Assam. The second case is rather funny. One Mohammad Azizur Rahman has four sons and a daughter.


All the 5 children are adult now with their own families and children. As per the NRC guidelines the 4 sons applied for registration with proper documents. They have same father, obviously they all attached the same documents of their father as linkage data in all 4 applications having different ARNs. Their names including all family members listed in the draft but Mohammad Azizur Rahman, their father’s name, appeared with four different ways in all four places. In one place it is Azizul Rehaman, in other Azizur Rahman, in 3rd it is Mohammed Ajijul and in the forth place it appeared as Aijul Haq. It looks that the typist has decided to type this father’s name wrongly in all four places. Now the sons will have to find a way out, since it may be troublesome in future. They have their father’s and grant parents’ documents which clearly mention their father’s name as Mohammad Azizur Rahman. Such typo errors are uncalled for, professionally unacceptable and this unnecessarily added troubles for the 4 families. In some other cases a male name is marked as female and the visa versa. In places you would find father became son, son became father – in short whole family relationship became a funny puzzle! A glance on the draft list reveals that such typo-mistakes are uncountable. This indicates how serious the state machinery might have been while preparing a list of such a paramount importance. How come a blunder be repeated 4 times with a single name? These cases rightly indicate that among the 40 lakhs, a big number could have been left out simply because of clerical apathy. This is not done. It does not make sense at all and Mr Hajela is failed by the system. May be due to such silly mistakes by BLOs, typists and clerks, the system might have put lakhs of people in trouble and as well as in stress. They will have to run from pillar to post, for how many days, months and year they do not know yet, to register their names in the list again. Who is responsible for this mess? Who will pay for all these extra use of private and public resources? The whole process is extremely painful and costly for poor and less aware peasent. Assamese people wanted this work be done properly and professionally. They want to move ahead out of this Hindu – Muslim, Assamese – Bengali politicking and focus on real development issue. This half-done work created additional issues with some hope and some dismay.

The author M. Burhanuddin Qasmi is Assamese native and editor of Eastern Crescent, Mumbai

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