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Assam Opposition leader slams Hajela’s move on NRC documents

 

GUWAHATI: Opposition leader in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, has accused NRC state coordinator, Prateek Hajela of misleading the Supreme Court and asked for his removal in the wake of the proposal to the apex court to dispense with the 1951 NRC and pre-1971 voters’ lists of Assam while dealing with claims and objections relating to omission of over 40 lakh names from the complete NRC draft.

In a statement issued by the office of the leader of the Opposition (ALA) here on Thursday, Saikia pointed out that the eligibility criteria framed for the NRC by various stakeholders, including the government, had specifically listed the 1951 NRC and pre-1971 voters’ lists as the first two among important documents for the purpose of verification and these two documents are even mentioned in the relevant part of the Rules, 2003.

“It is consequently logical to attribute a malafide motive to Mr Hajela’s arbitrary recommendation to drop these two important documents from the verification process,” he said.

Saikia mentioned that numerous people, especially those afflicted by economic and educational backwardness, did not anticipate that a day would come when the presence of the names of their parents/grandparents in the 1951 NRC and pre-1971 voters’ lists would not be sufficient to prove their citizenship.

“Such people may not have bothered to acquire any of the ten documents suggested by Mr Hajela as admissible legacy/citizenship documents. These people will be branded foreigners despite being genuine citizens if Mr Hajela’s proposal is accepted,” the Opposition leader said.

“In any case, changing the eligibility criteria at such an advanced stage of the NRC process is against the demands of natural justice,” he said.

The Opposition leader urged all parties involved in the ongoing NRC-related proceedings in the Supreme Court to keep this aspect in view while submitting their views on Hajela’s proposal at the next date of hearing.

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