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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Demanding an error free National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state, the All Assam Student Union (AASU) on Sunday said that no Bangladeshis coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay in the state.AASU chief adviser Dr Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya talking to reporters here said no Bangladeshis either Hindu or Muslim coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay in the state.On the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Bhattacharya said, “We strongly oppose the special bill that the Central government is framing for the interest of settlement of Hindus from Bangladesh in the state. It will never be acceptable to the people of Assam.”Urging the government to deal with the ongoing NRC updation process sincerely, Bhattacharya said, “a section of people have been doing politics on it and trying to include the names of illegal foreigners in the NRC”.The first draft of the NRC, being updated in Assam on the directions of the Supreme Court, will be published on December 31 midnight.The AASU leader also added that the government should protect the land falling under the Tribal Belt Blocks.The AASU leader was accompanied by All Assam Tea Students Association (AATSA) leader Krisna Kamal Tanti, Gorkha Student’s Union general secretary Sanjib Chetry.
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<!– /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.