New Delhi/Guwahati: The process of filing claims and objections with regard to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) released by Assam will be flagged off on Tuesday, and will continue till 23 November, even as the fate of over 4 million people left out of the final draft is yet to be decided.

The process was earlier scheduled to start on 30 August but was deferred by the Supreme Court to initiate a district-wise verification in 10% of the NRC data.

About 28.9 million out of the 32.9 million applicants were included in the final draft NRC released on 30 July. People who had been excluded from the final draft, including the 248,000 classified as doubtful voters (D-Voters), can now file their claims for inclusion in the NRC, along with documents such as legacy data, which pertains to documents that furnish the name of ancestor in the 1951 NRC or in the electoral rolls up to 24 March 1971.

“People who have been left out now have to once again furnish legacy documents, from the 1951 NRC to the electoral rolls of March 1971. Even if they submit the same documents that they did the first time around, we will carry out our investigation from scratch so that no genuine case is left out," NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela had said in July.

Hajela had said that there was a difference between the processes of claims and objections. While the claims process focused on filing for inclusion of names in the NRC, objections meant that a person could file an objection with the NRC authorities against another person. In both cases, Hajela had stated, adequate checks will be carried out to ensure that there was no discrepancy.

The NRC coordinator said that even the 28.9 million people whose names have been included in the draft cannot take their status for granted. “There is a chance that even people whose names are on the list may be excluded once the process of claims and objections begin, and checks take place," Hajela added.

There is a fear of exclusion and eventual deportation across the state’s Morigaon, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Dhubri regions, where 28.92% of the population accounts for Bengali speakers, according to the Census 2011 data, with several thousand being labelled as D-voters by the foreigners tribunal. However, those left out of the final draft NRC are unaware of the nuances of the claims and objections process.

Nearly 10,000 people across Assam who have valid home migration certificates also have not been included in the final draft NRC.

“There are cases where the deputy commissioner of Goalpara issued home migration certificates in 1964 stating that the people have migrated from Bangladesh. These entries and certificates are, however, not being recognized by the NRC authorities and we do not know why that is so," said a senior Assam state government official, requesting anonymity.

The matter has turned into a political slugfest with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee late last month accusing the centre of launching “a drive to evict people from the country". “Bengal has protested against the situation in Assam and will continue to do so. We all are Indian citizens. If they try to drive out even a single Indian citizen, we will not spare them (Centre)," she said.

Those who had been left out of the final draft NRC will now have to approach NRC authorities to get clarity on the matter, according to experts.

“There are 15 documents that are accepted by NRC authorities. The border police has a grievance cell and if the people have any confusion, they should approach the border police before it is too late," said Nani Gopal Mahanta, head of the political science department of Gauhati University.

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