The apex court has fixed July 2 as the next date of hearing of the NRC case.
Guwahati: The much-talked about final draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam may miss its June 30 release date, with the directorate tasked to publish the remaining draft NRC, approaching the Supreme Court seeking extension of deadline for publication of the draft because of the floods in the riverine state.
The apex court has fixed July 2 as the next date of hearing of the NRC case. After the first wave of floods since June 13, the NRC directorate moved the Supreme Court to seek a deferral of the deadline for publishing the remaining draft of the NRC.
The Supreme Court had directed the directorate to complete the process by June 30, including the disposal of claims and objections. However, the authorities had pleaded that they could only publish the complete draft by then, after which claims and objections would be taken up, and the final list drawn up.
The process of updating the NRC under the supervision of the Supreme Court had started in September 2015.
The first draft of the updated NRC was published on December 31, 2017, which included the names of 1.90 crore people out of 3.29 crore applicants. Work has since been on to verify the remaining names.
The apex court is monitoring the exercise that aims at to strike down the names of illegal immigrants off the list of voters in the crucial border state that acts as the gateway to the Northeast. The first wave of floods has affected about half a million residents in seven districts of Assam, resulting in 31 deaths so far. The coordinator of the NRC, Mr Prateek Hajela, said that the floods has affected work and the publication timelines.
The ongoing process of updating the NRC is a major contentious issue in Assam where large-scale immigration from Bangladesh has been the major area of concern for the state’s ethnic population, which believes that the “outsiders” have been dipping into their resources.
The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU) led a six-year-long agitation demanding the identification and deportation of illegal immigrants, which ended in 1985 with the signing of the Assam Accord between leaders of the movement and the Centre. The issue had also been a key campaign plank for the BJP ahead of the 2016 assembly election.
However, minorities in the state fear that the exercise will target them in the name of identification and deportation of foreigners in the state. The security circle is also worried about the fall out fearing unrest and chaos after the publication of the final draft of the NRC. The Assam government has also sought the deployment of additional forces in the state before the publication of the final draft of the NRC.