CPI(M) Opposes Govt Petitions Seeking New Round of NRC Verification in Assam; Sees Political Ploy

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People wait in queue to check their names on the draft list at the National Register of Citizens (NRC) centre at a village in Nagaon district, on July 30, 2018. — Reuters

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday strongly opposed the Central government and Assam government’s petitions in the Supreme Court seeking a sample re-verification of the names included in the draft National Register of Citizens in Assam which was published on July 30, 2018.

 The largest constituent of the Left Front sees BJP’s agenda in the demand.

“This sudden demand on the eve of the July 31 deadline appears motivated by the agenda of the BJP which seeks to identify citizenship on the basis of religious affiliation,” said CPI(M).

On Tuesday, the Centre and the State of Assam made an urgent mention before the Chief Justice of India for an extension of the deadline for the final publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) from July 31, 2019, to a “future date” to conduct a “sample re-verification process”.

The CPI (M) also warned that further round of verification will only lead to more harassment and continuation of the ordeal for lakhs of citizens who have already spent a large amount of time and resources appearing for repeated hearings and submission of papers.

In a statement, party’s Polit Bureau member said, “The Union Government and the Assam State Government have petitioned the Supreme Court for a sample re-verification of the names included in the draft National Register of Citizens in Assam which was published on July 30, 2018. For this, they want the court to extend the deadline for the final publication of the NRC list from July 31 to a future date.”

According to the petition, the Central and state governments both led by the BJP want a 20 per cent sample re-verification of the names included in the districts bordering Bangladesh and a 10 per cent sample re-verification in the other districts.

This seems to be a new political ploy to stretch this exercise further for polarization as  Union Home Minister Amit Shah pitched for nationwide NRC, who said in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that ‘infiltrators’ in every inch of India will be identified and deported, a party source said.

Earlier, the Center has issued the Foreigners (Tribunals) Amendment Order, 2019 on May 30 which has been challenged in the Apex court contending that the order is in violation of the fundamental liberties, guaranteed under Articles 19 and 21. While admitting the petitions filed by the All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) and Jamiat-i-Ulama Hind (Arshad group), the top court has issued notices to the Center and Assam asking to them reply within 4 weeks.

Now the new petition by the Center pleading for sample verification will further delay the updating process of the NRC. CPI(M) said it is totally against the new round of verification as it will only lead to more harassment and continuation of the ordeal for lakhs of citizens who have already spent a large amount of time and resources appearing for repeated hearings and submission of papers.

“The issues connected with the NRC list are different – will there be a speedy legal process to render justice to those wrongly excluded? What is going to happen to the millions who are excluded from the NRC and what will be their status? And so on,” CPI(M)’s Polit Bureau member asked.

The party also appealed to the Supreme Court, who initiated and supervised the NRC process, should take responsibility to respond to these issues and added that at stake are fundamental issues regarding Indian citizenship and the basic rights of citizens.

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