‘Negative elements’ trying to disrupt NRC update: Sonowal

New Delhi: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday claimed that “negative elements” were trying to disrupt the ongoing process to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and his government was determined to thwart any such attempts.
Sonowal also asked “genuine” Indian citizens not to panic as their concerns would be adequately addressed in the mega exercise aimed at identifying those illegal immigrants who had entered the state after 1971.
“There are some negative elements. These negative elements are trying to disrupt the smooth proceedings of the NRC update. The state government is alive to the situation. There are some groups which are trying to create unrest in Assam in the name of NRC. Our government is determined to thwart any such attempts,” he told PTI here.
“Both the state and the central government will take adequate steps for peaceful publication of the NRC. I appeal to the people to extend cooperation, the way they did during the publication of the draft last year,” he said.
The chief minister said grievances of all bonafide Indian citizens will be adequately addressed in the update process of the NRC, a list of Assam’s residents.
“No one should panic. No genuine Indians will be harassed,” he said. Sonowal warned extremist elements not to indulge in violence and said no such person will be spared.
When the draft NRC was published on July 30, 2018, there was a huge controversy over the exclusion of 40.7 lakh people from it. The draft NRC included the names of 2.9 crore people out of the total 3.29 crore applications. Some 30 lakh of the 40.7 lakh people, left out of the draft of NRC, filed for inclusion of their names in the document.
The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the NRC update process, has made it clear that the final NRC has to be published on July 31, 2019.
Of the 40.7 lakh people whose names did not figure in the draft NRC, 37.59 lakh names were rejected and the remaining 2,48,077 were on hold.
However, they were given an opportunity to prove their Indian citizenship with 1971 as the cut-off year. The verification process is being carried out for these people who had submitted documents afresh.
The Supreme Court-monitored NRC exercise, aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state that borders Bangladesh, was carried out only in Assam, which faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century.
The process of identification of illegal immigrants in the state has been widely debated and is a contentious issue in state politics. A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the All Assam Students Union in 1979.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had claimed that the NRC exercise was carried out with a “political motive” to divide people and warned that it would lead to “bloodbath” and a “civil war” in the country.
Following exclusion of over 40 lakh people in the draft NRC, Banerjee had alleged the NRC was an “attempt to evict Bengalis from Assam”. (PTI)

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