Assam Congress alleges harassment in NRC process

A delegation of Assam Congress Legislature Party (ACLP) in Guwahati on Sunday submitted a memorandum to Prateek Hajela, state coordinator of National Register of Citizens (NRC), regarding the alleged harassment faced by religious and linguistic minorities during the NRC claims and objections process.

The NRC authorities in Assam last week started hearing objections raised regarding some of the citizens. While the people against whom objections have been raised appeared at the respective venues, objectors failed to turn up, raising questions about authenticity of the objection process.

“Whereas, any person who came to India on or after March 25, 1971 shall be deemed as a foreigner and hence, left out of the NRC. The genuine Indian citizens shall not be harassed by way of entertaining purported/cyclostyled objections and being called for hearing at faraway places or otherwise in total violation of law and rules,” leader of the opposition Debabrata Saikia, who led the delegation, said in the memorandum.

People were being called to faraway places for hearing of claims and objections, causing mental, physical and financial harassment, said Saikia.

The Supreme Court in its April 4, 2019 order had requested the state coordinator to ensure that at the time of hearing of claims, steps be taken to prevent any inconvenience to the persons required to attend the hearing and that they were not required to travel long distances, he said.

“Unfortunately, people are being called to attend hearings at distant places, causing considerable inconvenience. In some cases, different members of the same family have been summoned to different districts on the same day,” Saikia pointed out.

Remarking that his party welcomed genuine objections filed against any ineligible person by following due process of law, the Congress leader said it had come to their knowledge that a large number of objections had been filed in cyclostyled manner, in total violation of law.

“Such objections have been evidently filed only with a view to harass genuine Indian citizens and derail the entire process,” he said and added the objectors were neither attending hearings, nor disclosing their identities.

Saikia said there are reports about certain forces with vested interests filing bulk complaints simply to harass innocent people on the basis of religious and linguistic identity.

The ACLP also urged the state coordinator to set up hearing venue within local area.

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