What does it mean if someone’s name is not included in the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC)? What does the recently published NRC exclusion list mean, where nearly 19 lakh (2 million) people have been left out of the list? Does it mean that for a temporary period of time, the person is not considered an Indian Citizen? Or does it mean, the person is still considered as an Indian citizen till he can prove his citizenship.
Many questions have arisen after the announcement of the exclusion list of the NRC in Assam. But, it has also been claimed that some of the NRC Seva Kendras (NSK) centers are responsible for the malfunction of the NRC process in Assam. Many cases have been noticed where, even after the submission of required documents, citizens have been debarred from claiming citizenship. This has certainly led to mental torture to some of the sections of society including Indian Gorkhas.
A teacher from Assam, who has been in service for 34 years under the Government of Assam was included in the recently published (August 31) exclusion list of the NRC. A note from the teacher (as shown below) had surfaced online on September 5, whose English translation is as follows (though some words are not exactly translated, I have tried to give the basic meaning).
“I am, by birth, an Indian Gorkha, and Nepali is my language. Beginning from my childhood, I was brought up under the mixed culture of both Assamese and Nepali, and hence I have given equal respect to the Assamese language as that of mine, and have admired Assamese as my mother tongue.
My father was also an original inhabitant of this area. I was born in 1964 in Samardalani village, Nagsankar (at present, under the district of Biswanath). By using the same NRC published in 1951 of my father, my brother, sister, and their children, even both my sons, have got their citizenship, but as a father, I was debarred from citizenship, and hence, there remain some unanswered questions for us.
It should be noted that, in the Nepali community, there are some differences between their classes and titles. Some of them use their class, and some use their titles, i.e., there are several titles within a class. Already these issues had been discussed by the All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union (AAGSU) with the central government. They had informed NSK centers in this regard, but the implementation remains doubtful. Two notices were sent by NSK to me, following which I submitted the required documents in time. This included the Legacy of 1951, land revenue receipt of 1958, documents of my educational qualifications, and voter list containing my name and my father’s name together. After this, I was satisfied about the inclusion of my name in the final draft of NRC.
In this regard, I have faith that there cannot be room for any defect in the judgments and interpretations of the honorable Supreme Court, Central, and State government, along with the Supreme Court-mandated coordinator of NRC Pratik Hajela. So, I believe that due to the biased nature, unwillingness and inexperience of some of the NSK workers to analyse the documents provided have led lakhs of people like me to suffer.
Hence, without the coordination of today’s visionary people, governments, Courts, NRC officials, various organisations including AAGSU, the process of re-inclusion of names in NRC seems difficult and lengthy.
Today, on the auspicious occasion of Teachers day, after 34 years of service as a teacher, how can I remain silent and accept the love, respect and the Gamosa from my students, with the stigma of being not included in NRC?
I hope, for today, respected fellow teachers and my students won’t misunderstand me.”
Hence from the above letter, it can be concluded that even after the submission of required documents, some people have to face unnecessary mental pressure due to alleged negligence of NSK centers. The NRC is definitely a complicated and lengthy process, and the true value of NRC cannot be obtained if there is no proper implementation and cooperation among various organisations, tribunals, and the government.