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NRC draft final, Assam on alert

With Assam on the edge ahead of the publication of the state citizens’ list’s first draft, the home ministry officials allayed fears, saying that Indian nationals whose names don’t figure in the list will get adequate opportunities to prove their credentials.The Central government has asked the Army to remain on stand-by, while deploying 45,000 security personnel to prevent any untoward incident. The first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be released around midnight. Intelligence inputs have suggested possible tension in some parts of the state, where names of doubtful citizens might be excluded in the draft list.”No one should have any notion that anyone or any particular community could be discriminated against. Everyone is treated equally and all Indian nationals will get adequate opportunities to prove their credentials, in case their names are excluded in the first list,” the official said.Last week, Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba spent two days in the state, reviewing the preparations for the publication of the part draft of NRC. Following a series of meetings between the Central and state governments, and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), it was decided to update the NRC in 2005.The exercise got a major push after the BJP came to power in the state, which had a major poll plank of driving out the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The Supreme Court had also ordered that the first draft of the NRC be published by December 31, after completing the scrutiny of over two crore claims, along with those submitted by nearly 38 lakh people, whose documents were suspect. Of the 3.28 crore applications submitted, there was confusion over the inclusion of 29 lakh people, who had submitted certificates issued by ‘gram panchayats’ as proof of identity, after a Gauhati High Court order in February had deemed ‘panchayat’ certificates invalid, the official said.The SC set aside the HC order and upheld the validity of the certificates as identity proof, if they were followed up with proper verification. The Apex Court also asked the authorities to stick to the original deadline for publication of the draft NRC and include names of those whose claims were verified.When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had a population of 80 lakh. A six-year agitation, demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants, was launched by the AASU in 1979. It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in the presence of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal also sought to dispel apprehensions and said “genuine” Indians missing from the citizenship register would get enough opportunities to incorporate their names. “No one should have any apprehensions. If the name of a genuine Indian citizen is missing in the part draft of the NRC, he or she will get proper chance to incorporate it,” he said. “There is no need for panic. Genuine Indian citizens will not be deprived of their rights,” he added.

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‘Indian citizens excluded in draft NRC will get enough chance to prove credentials’

All Indian nationals, whose names were excluded in the first draft of the National Register of Citizens, will get adequate opportunities to prove their credentials, a top Union Home Ministry official said today.The NRC is a list of the state’s citizens and as Assam anxiously awaits the publication of its part draft tonight, the official said people belonging to any creed, ethnicity or language were being treated equally and justice would be done to everyone with equal opportunities.”No one should have any notion that anyone or any particular community could be discriminated against. Everyone is treated equally and all Indian nationals will get adequate opportunities to prove their credentials in case their names are excluded in the first list,” the official said, requesting anonymity.Also readAASU demands error free NRC, says ‘no Bangladeshi coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay’After the publication of the first draft, second and third drafts will be published by the authorities before releasing the final list, said the official, who is in regular touch with the Assam government officials, who is monitoring the situation closely.”There is no need for panic. Genuine Indian citizens will not be deprived of their rights,” the official said.Army troops are on standby while a massive number of 45,000 security personnel were being deployed across Assam ahead of the publication of the first draft of the NRC.The Counter Insurgency (CI) grid, involving the Army, police, paramilitary and intelligence agencies, has been regularly reviewing the situation and directing all possible action to ensure peace.There have been intelligence inputs about possible tension in some parts of the state where names of doubtful citizens could be excluded in the draft list, another official said.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba spent two days in the state last week, reviewing preparations for the publication of the part draft of the NRC and security arrangements, as ensuring peace in the state is a top priority for the Centre and the state government.Also readIndian citizenship: SC says claims of left out persons to be included in subsequent NRC for AssamAssam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday also sought to dispel apprehensions and said “genuine” Indians missing from the citizenship register would get enough opportunities to incorporate their names.The exercise to update the NRC is being carried out in Assam following a decision in 2005 after a series of meetings between the central and state governments and the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in an attempt to document the bona fide Indian citizens living the state.Assam, which faced influx from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.The current exercise, started in 2005 under the then Congress regime, got a major push only after the BJP came to power in the state with illegal immigration from Bangladesh as a poll plank.The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the entire process, had ordered that the first draft of the NRC be published by December 31 after completing the scrutiny of over two crore claims along with that of around 38 lakh people whose documents were suspect.Of the 3.28 crore applications submitted, there was confusion over the inclusion of 29 lakh people who had submitted certificates issued by ‘gram panchayats’ as proof of identity, after a Gauhati High Court order in February had deemed ‘panchayat’ certificates invalid, the official said.Also readRelease draft NRC by Dec 31: SCThe Supreme Court set aside the high court order and upheld the validity of the certificates as identity proof if they were followed up with proper verification.The apex court also asked authorities to stick to the original deadline for the publication of the draft NRC and include names of those whose claims were verified.When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens then.The process of identification of illegal immigrants in Assam has been debated and become a contentious issue in the state’s politics.A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the AASU in 1979.It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985 in the presence of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

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Assam Accord will not be diluted at any cost, says Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the tripartite talks held on Wednesday with the All Assam Students Union and the Assam government, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the “spirit of the Assam Accord will not be diluted at any cost.” Meeting leaders of the student union after a gap of 12 years, Singh said the Centre is closely following the implementation of the Accord, and will ensure that the upgradation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be carried out flawlessly, and the indigenous people of Assam will be provided their rightful Constitutional and economic safeguards. Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal, too, was present at the meet.Singh said that a tripartite nine-member committee, which was discontinued will be revived, to see that the Accord is implemented smoothly and timely. “All issues raised by AASU will be discussed in detail and implemented in a time-bound manner. We are also mulling the option for second line of defense along the border for strengthening border security and checking infiltration. Besides, erection of fencing along Indo-Bangla border has already begun,” Singh told reporters after the meeting.In the meeting, AASU submitted over 60 clauses of the Assam Accord, of which the Centre agreed to a few, adding that discussions on the rest will be ongoing. The Centre also assured the AASU that the NRC will be upgraded without the inclusion of name of any undocumented individuals. It was also mutually decided in the meeting that a task force will be constituted in every district for a smooth implementation. AASU has also put forward a demand that an extradition treaty with Bangladesh be formed, under which undocumented individuals are deported. Home Secretary Mehrishi assured them that a deportation procedure is under process.AASU has also demanded that the Indo-Bangladesh along the river should be secured with modern systems along with the borders on the land by 2018, adding that floodlights and a second line of defence should be added.The student body has also demanded that any individuals on the border should be shot at sight. To this, Assam CM Sonowal said that all possible methods will be deployed to secure the borders.”The talks are historic and we are hopeful that our demands are met. Since the Centre said that the clauses of the Assam Accord will not be diluted, we are hopeful that the cut-off date will be 1972. This is the first time that we’ve held talks with a NDA government, and we were instantly told what was going to work out and what was not,” said AASU president Dipanko Kumar Nath.The talks hold significance as the BJP government, which rose to power on the poll plank of sending back undocumented individuals to Bangladesh, has been saying that only Muslims will be sent back, while Hindus will be given a shelter by the state. This has angered the AASU, who demand that every undocumented individual must be sent back, irrespective of their religion. This comes at a time when the state government has missed two deadlines for the upgradation of the NRC — December 2016, and then March, 2017 — and had announced a deadline of December 2017. AASU has also opposed the Citizen Amendment Bill, 2016.In the meet held at the North Block, the Centre was represented by home secretary Rajeev Mehrishi and MHA Joint Secretary (Northeast) Satyendra Garg. The Assam government was represented by state minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, Assam Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia, Principal Secretary (Home) Hemanta Narzary, Resident Commissioner Rwitticka Kalita, and Commissioner and Secretary (Home) LS Changsan. AASU was represented by its president Dipanko Kumar Nath, general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi, adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya and educationist Basanta Deka.

Peace talks with ULFA(I) if Centre comes forward: Chetia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Peace talks with ULFA (Independent), led by Paresh Axom (Baruah), is only possible if the Centre comes forward for a dialogue process, pro-talk ULFA leader and its general secretary Anup Chetia today said. “Talks with the Paresh Baruah-led faction of ULFA is possible if the Central government comes forward honestly,” Chetia said at the general meeting of the pro-talk ULFA cadre. The ULFA founder leader declined to comment when asked if he has received any indication from Paresh Baruah for the peace talks. The ULFA general secretary also expressed concern at the alleged “apathetic attitude” of the Central Government towards the peace talk process with the ULFA. “Dialogue cannot be a one way traffic and the environment for talks should be created from the government’s side,” he said. “Discussion with the ULFA depends upon the goodwill of the Central Government,” Chetia said. Referring to the proposed settlement of Hindu Bangladeshis in Assam, Chetia said that “the issue is a complete political agenda of the BJP government.” “The issue is being politicised by several forces. Not a single Hindu Bangladeshi family is willing to come to Assam when much hullaballoo is about the proposed amendment of the Citizenship Act,” Chetia claimed. Chetia was incarcerated in Dhaka after being arrested on December 21, 1997 under the Foreigners Act and the Passports Act for illegally carrying foreign currency and a satellite phone. On being asked about Subudh Biswas, the prime accused of Silapathar incident, Chetia said that any move against the state must be opposed by the people of Assam. The Silpathar violence took place on March 6 during the procession taken out by NiBBUSS leading to the destruction of an office of the local unit of AASU, Swahidbedi (memorial to Assam Agitation martyrs) and also causing damage to public and private properties and disruption of law and order situation in the area. Anup Chetia was sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a Bangladeshi court and held at Kashimpur Jail till November 11, 2015 before he was handed over by Bangladesh Government to India. Chetia was then lodged in Guwahati Central Jail from where he was released on bail on December 24, 2015.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Army stages flag march following ransacking of AASU office

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army staged a flag march at Silapathar in Assam’s Dhemaji district today after members of an organisation ransacked the office of the All-Assam Students Union here demanding Indian citizenship for Hindu Bengalis who came to the state from Bangladesh after 1971. Members of a little-known organisation “Nikhil Bharat Bengali Udbastu Samanvay Rakhi Samiti” yesterday attacked an office of the AASU situated on NH 15 (B), injuring three persons and destroying furniture. They demanded Indian citizenship for Hindu Bengalis from Bangladesh. Following this local people set ablaze a car and a motorcycle and damaged roadside tea stalls, the police said today. Today various organisations, including the AASU and other ethnic students’ organisations held a joint meeting in Guwahati today protesting against yesterday’s incident. Dhemaji district Deputy Commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korati said that nine persons were apprehended in this connection and an FIR registered against five persons. “We appeal to the people not to take law in their hands. Action was immediately taken and the situation is under control now,” she said. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who was an AASU member in the early days of his political career, described the incident as ‘unfortunate’ and appealed to the people for maintaining peace. Sonowal said that an inquiry had been ordered and the administration asked to submit a report within a month. AASU President Dipanka Kumar Nath has condemned the incident.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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