After the final list of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on Saturday morning, the state unit of the Congress party reacted to the development. Ripun Bora, the President of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament commented that the officials conducting the NRC process were the employees of the Assam Government. He contended that it was the Government’s duty to check whether the list contained the name of a ‘foreigner’ or a that a bonafide Indian’s name was missing in the NRC. Bora held the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) responsible for any discrepancies in the final NRC list.
While former Congress President Rahul Gandhi was critical of the NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Bill during the 2019 General Elections campaign, the state unit of the Congress has principally supported the NRC. Interestingly, the local BJP leadership has also been sending mixed signals about the credibility of the NRC.
Earlier this week, Assam BJP chief Ranjeet Dass opined, “Persons declared foreigners are involved in the NRC updating process while people who were part of Assam agitation and even the Independence movement have got excluded (from the drafts released earlier). So how can we be satisfied with such a list?”
This claim by the BJP finds resonance in the fact that in the draft NRC, the average rate of exclusion for the state was higher than that of the exclusion rate in the districts bordering Bangladesh. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister of Assam, Chandra Mohan Patowary, revealed this information on the floor of the Assembly. Ripun Bora accused the BJP leaders of spreading confusion ahead of the publication of the NRC list and asked Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to take action against them.
NRC has its origin in 1951, when the list containing the names of all Indians was first published. However, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) demanded a ‘foreigner-free’ NRC list in Assam as the state had witnessed illegal immigration on an unprecedented scale for centuries. This was part of the Assam Accord signed by Rajiv Gandhi in 1985. Nevertheless, the process got underway, but only decades after as the Supreme Court stepped in.
Assam NRC list was published earlier today. While the Assam Government found 3,11,21,004 eligible for inclusion in the final list, over 19 lakh people's names have been left out. This also includes the names of people who did not submit their claims. The comprehensive list is now available at 2500 NRC service centres, 157 zonal offices and 33 District Deputy Commissioner offices in the state. It can also be found on the Internet on the official website of Assam NRC.