With the final date for the publication of final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam approaching, Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said it was “only a draft” and people would be given “adequate opportunity for objections.”

The minister said that the NRC is being updated in accordance with the Assam Accord signed on August 15, 1985, and that the entire process is as per the directions of Supreme Court, which is constantly monitoring the process.

The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam. The Supreme Court on July 2 extended its June 30 deadline by a month due to the flood situation. The government and the state coordinator agreed to adhere to the new deadline by July 30 for the publication of the draft.

“I will like to assure everyone that the NRC exercise is being carried out in a totally impartial, transparent and meticulous manner and will continue to be so. At every stage, adequate opportunity of hearing is given to all persons concerned. The entire process is being conducted according to law and due procedure is being followed,” a home ministry statement quoting Rajnath Singh said.

“We will ensure that every individual gets justice and is treated humanely. All individuals will have sufficient opportunity for all remedies available under the law.”

“After the draft’s publication, adequate opportunity for claims and objections will be available. All claims and objections will be duly examined. Adequate opportunity of being heard will be given before the claims and objections are disposed of. Only thereafter will the final NRC be published,” said the minister.

The senior BJP leader said that the citizenship rules provide that any person not satisfied with the outcome of claims and objections can appeal to the Foreigners Tribunal. “Thus, there is no question of anyone being put in a detention centre after the publication of the NRC.”

He said that the state government has been asked to ensure law and order and to allow no one to take law into their hands, adding that all possible arrangements will be made to ensure safety and security of all.

Noting that there is no reason for panic or fear, Rajnath Singh said: “No person will be allowed to be harassed. The central government will provide all necessary help to the government of Assam in this regard.”

Talking to the press after meeting Union minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Sunday, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that the applicants who do not find their names in the final draft NRC need not be apprehensive as they will be given adequate opportunity to prove their eligibility for inclusion in the final NRC. Sonowal also said that there should not be any apprehension or misgivings among the genuine Indian citizens after the publication of the draft NRC as all the applicants whose names have not been figured in the draft NRC will get chance to submit their claim in prescribed form.

Sonowal also appealed to the people to stay away from passing any comment likely to vitiate communal fabric of the state.

Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, Assam health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, home secretary Rajiv Gauba, registrar general of India Sailesh, Assam chief secretary TY Das, DGP Kuladhar Saikia and senior officials of the Assam home department were present during the meeting.

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