New Delhi: Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday attempted to allay the fears of a large part of the population in Assam over the planned 30 July release of the second draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), saying that those who did not make it to the list will be offered a redressal mechanism.
“We should not assume there will be chaos. The home ministry is adequately prepared and people will be given ample time to make themselves heard and present their case if their names are left out. They can also approach the foreign tribunal in Assam if they want to," Singh said.
Singh added that those left out “will not be automatically or suddenly labelled as foreigners". At present, there are 300 foreigners tribunals in Assam.
In January, Assam, under the direction of the Supreme Court, had released the first draft of the NRC, which named just 19 million of the state’s 32.9 million population, leading to panic among those whose names did not figure. The final draft is expected to be released by the year-end.
State officials, who have been closely monitoring the situation, however, said that there could be law and order challenges that the state will have to deal with.
“Last time, there were instances wherein two members of a family of four were part of the list, while the names of the other two did not figure in it," said a person familiar with the developments.
“NRC is being updated in Assam in accordance with the Assam Accord signed on 15 August, 1985. The entire process is being carried out as per the directions of the Supreme Court which is constantly monitoring the process," the Union home ministry said in a statement, earlier this week.
The ministry also issued guidelines to the state government, instructing it to maintain law and order on the release of the list.
“Assam has been advised to set up a state-level coordination committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary to ensure coordination among state agencies, NRC authorities and central agencies. Round-the-clock control rooms at the state capital and district headquarters are to be activated to receive complaints and coordinate prompt response," the home ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The ministry has also instructed the Registrar General of India “to use all means of communication, including websites, toll-free numbers, SMSes, etc., to provide information to public about the draft NRC."