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"Ignorant" Mancha tries to mislead people on NRC: Hajela

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Press Trust of India Guwahati
NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela has denied all charges levelled by a Guwahati-based citizens' forum and claimed that the group is "misleading" the people of Assam and "ignorant" of the basics of the verification system of the National Register of Citizens.
The Sachetan Nagarik Mancha, a platform of citizens formed during updation work of the NRC, had submitted a memorandum to Hajela and then to President Ram Nath Kovind earlier this month alleging wrongful exclusions as well as inclusions in the document, the final version of which is slated to be released on Saturday.
The Mancha recently held a demonstration in New Delhi for an error-free NRC, touted to be a proof of Assamese identity, and demanded a CBI probe into the alleged illegal trading of legacy data.
Giving a point-by-point rebuttal of allegegations levelled against the NRC authorities by the Mancha, Hajela wrote a letter to its president saying, "It appears that far from carrying out any responsibility, your organisation is involved only in creating rhetoric making grandiose allegations which are not supported by an iota of evidence."

The allegations "appear to be aimed at misleading the public of Assam in a sensitive matter like updating of NRC", Hajela said in a letter, dated August 29, a copy of which is in possession of PTI.
On the claim of the Mancha that its memorandum had signatures of 25 lakh indigenous people, he said it contained signatures of only 1,67,758 persons against 1,84,734 names.
"Your claim of 25 lakh indigenous Indian citizens of Assam as having signed the memorandum is not found to be supported by any evidence at all," it added.
Hajela said the Mancha mentioned a few registration numbers like "ARN No 30071, 301664" suspected to be of doubtful people included in the list, but the "NRC ARN number is a 21-digit number and the numbers quoted by you of 5-digits cannot, therefore, be ARN numbers."

Records do not reveal any objection that has been filed through the Mancha though it alleged that a large number of foreigners have been included in the draft NRC, he said.
"In fact, your organisation has not been able to point out a single such case of wrongful inclusion since publication of the Complete Draft NRC on 30/07/2018," Hajela said.
After the publication of the draft, there was a statutory provision of filing objections by anyone against any suspected wrongful inclusions.
"You have further alleged that names of indigenous people are excluded from NRC (Draft). On this account also, you have not pointed out a single such instance to any of the NRC authorities so far," Hajela said.
The memorandum also alleged that no scientific system was followed to verify the process of NRC update, to which the state coordinator said all submitted documents were checked through the issuing authorities if such papers were available in the records.
He said six crore documents were handled in four years with the help of an extremely sophisticated information technology based system.
"It appears that your allegation of non-verification of authenticity of documents stems from a complete ignorance of even the basics of NRC verification system," Hajela said.
Another scientific method of verification is the one based on the family tree that involves checking the consistency of all persons claiming descendance from the same ancestor, he said.
On the charge that districts along India-Bangladesh border have seen lesser exclusions than the other ones, the NRC State Coordinator questioned the basis of that theory.
"Considering the fact that immigration from 'Specified Territory' has been happening for around a century now, it is not known as to how you could assume that post-1971 illegal migrants would be confined only to the border districts," Hajela added.
He advised the Mancha to find out from the authorities concerned the number of illegal immigrants declared by the Foreigner's Tribunals for border districts.
Assam, which had faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC which was first prepared in 1951.
It is for the first time since then that the NRC is being updated.

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First Published: Aug 30 2019 | 5:40 PM IST

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