Soon after being sworn in as the chief minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday while speaking to The Hindu said that his government will be approaching the Supreme Court again for a reverification of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for at least 20% of entries in areas bordering Bangladesh and 10% in interior areas of Assam. A day later, on Thursday, Assam State NRC Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma has filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking comprehensive re-verification of the draft NRC as well as its supplementary list. The move gives us a glimpse of what the Himanta-led BJP government of Assam will look like for next five years.
Himanta Biswa Sarma wasted no time, and as soon as he vouched for ensuring a reverification of the NRC, swung into action. The State NRC Coordinator, in his petition before the Supreme Court, claimed that while ineligible names were included in the draft NRC, many eligible names have been excluded from the list. According to Northeast Now, Hitesh Dev Sarma sought re-verification of the NRC under the supervision of a monitoring committee, represented by the respective District Judge, District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police. The plea also stated that the preparation of a correct and errorfree NRC was integral to India’s national security.
Speaking to the Hindu, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in reply to a question of whether his government would go for NRC reverification had said, “Yes, we will be approaching the Supreme Court again for reverification of the NRC — up to 20% reverification for areas bordering Bangladesh and 10% for interior areas. If the NRC checks out then we shall do nothing. But if there are discrepancies, we will ask for the Supreme Court’s guidance on the issue. We have been saying this for a while and we stand by this.”
The BJP, in its election manifesto released before the assembly polls in Assam had committed to undertake a process of “correction and reconciliation of entries” in the NRC. In the final draft of NRC that was published in August 2019, more than 19 lakh people were left out. However, those in the know of the ground realities in Assam continue to believe and argue that the exclusion of 19 lakh names from NRC was, in fact, a vast undercount and that many illegal immigrants had made their way into the NRC draft.
The Himanta-led BJP government of Assam is going for the jugular right at the very outset of its term. For the next five years, Assam will be secured by the new government and ridded of illegal immigrants.