By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi
The Assam state coordinator for National Register of Cetizens (NRC) Parteek Hajela announced that the complete draft under supervision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India will be released tomorrow (Monday) at 10 am. Nearly 32 years after the Assam Accord was signed, the first draft of an updated NRC for the State listed 1.90 crore names out of the 3.29 crore applicants. The updated NRC was published at midnight on December 31, 2017. The remaining all genuine and varified cetizens’ name will be released tomorrow in the complete draft.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal made three important announcements following an all party meeting today in Guwahati. He said: “We had an all party meeting today with both ruling and opposition parties. NRC draft release is a crucial milestone for all of us in Assam. No person should make it a source of religious or linguistic devision in Assam. Those who might communalise or create rift within society will be dealt with strongly”.
He also clarified three very important issues which were discussed and finalised in the all party meeting today. He pointed out:
1. This will be a complete NRC draft only and not the final list. A final list is yet to come following all due process
2. Those whose names do not find a place in this draft should not worry at all, they will have option to apply for inclusion in the list as per the guidelines provided by the NRC authority. They should do it and the state government, political parties and NGOs will provide them with ediqaute assistance.
3. Those whose names will be left out from this complete draft are not declared as foreigners, they will not be put in detention camps and will not be excluded from any rights of an Indian cetizen.
The cetizens of Assam within the state and out of it are advised to maintain peace and orders. They are directed to shun rumours of any sort, online or off line. Media houses and civil society members are requested to help maintain peace in the state. The chief minister of Assam also expressed that he is hopeful about smooth execution of the constitutional process and there will be no law and order issues in the state following tomorrow’s announcement.
Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) president and Dhubri MP has also made an appeal to all cetizens to check fake news and rumours. He said, “We have already activated AIUDF valunteers in all districts of Assam to legally help and guide genuine cetizens whose name may not come in the complete draft. Our advocates and local committees are fully ready with a blue print to assist people in their need.”
Maulana Ajmal also expressed his confidence that things will be alright and peaceful in Assam following tomorrow’s release of NRC complete draft. He said: “We Assamese are peace loving people and our citizens are mature enough to maintain peace and unity among them.”
This author, an Assamese native living out of the state, wishes and prays that things go smoothly and no political power takes undue advantage out of people’s genuine concerns. Having all the boostings from political class tomorrow will only tell how genuinely Mr. Prateek Hajela has executed his task. There have been some serious questions in the past as how the direct descendents of a recorded freedom fighter – Hafiz Inayat, and the first deputy speaker of the Assam state assembly slapped with foreigner tags and hanging regularly at the courts of Foreigners Tribunal for years on? We hope such cases do not appear in big numbers following tomorrow draft release.