News & Information From Northeast India

Prateek Hajela refutes Al Jazeera story on NRC update process in Assam

An Al Jazeera report on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) update process in Assam drew severe criticism when state NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela said that the report falsely quoted him.

The report, filed by senior journalist Subir Bhaumik, quoted Hajela saying that around 48 lakh people in Assam face the threat of deportation as “they have failed to provide documentation proving that their families lived there prior to 1971”.

The report quoted Prateek Hajela as saying that some 48 lakh people in Assam “have failed to provide appropriate legacy documents” in advance of the preliminary list’s publication.

Rebutting the report, Hajela said that he hasn’t interacted with Bhaumik about the NRC update process in Assam. “I hereby declare that I haven’t given any such statement to Al Jazeera or Shri Subir Bhaumik or to any other media person or media agency ever,” a statement released on behalf of Hajela said.

“The undersigned didn’t have any conversation with Shri Subir Bhaumik on any NRC related matter ever. Further, the contents of the statement attributed to the undersigned are totally false and not based on facts at all,” the statement further said.

Replying to a query by The News Mill, Subir Bhaumik said that the information written in the story is already in the public domain. “I am travelling but soon I will settle down and respond officially… and all the info in the story is in public domain so nothing is false as alleged,” he said.

The Al Jazeera report said that Assam is home to more than 3.20 crore people, about a third of whom are Muslims. The updating process – carried out for the first time in six decades – is aimed at detecting and deporting undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh. “But critics have condemned the effort, saying it threatens to make Muslim citizens and long-term refugees of Bangladeshi origin stateless – similar to Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya minority,” the report said.

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