Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal keeps door open for law on NRC count

ASSAM CHIEF Minister Sarbananda Sonowal indicated Monday that while the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) would be published on August 31, as mandated by the Supreme Court, the government could later enact a legislation on the enumeration process Asked about the possibility of such a move, after the Supreme Court rejected a joint plea by the Centre and state for extending the NRC deadline to enable a sample reverification, Sonowal said: You can also raise a question. If it is necessary to take a step in that direction, we will discuss it. When the draft NRC was published earlier, a lot of questions were raised. But people of Assam maintained peace. We are certain that when the final NRC is published, people will again maintain calm. The Home Minister has assured full support. All our requirement for (security) forces would be fulfilled, we have been told, On July 16, the Centre and the Assam government had moved the Supreme Court seeking a sample reverification of 20 per cent of names included in the final draft in districts bordering Bangladesh. They had also sought an extension of the July 31 deadline set by the court for the final NRC. Raising doubts over the enumeration, an affidavit of the Home Ministry had indicated that genuine citizens may have been excluded and foreigners included in the list. It also raised the possibility of a law-and-order situation in the state. The Supreme Court, however, did not grant the plea for reverification but extended the deadline to August 31. On August 1, the Assam government released partial data from the draft final NRC in the state Assembly, and claimed that the inclusion rate is higher in districts bordering Bangladesh, and lower in those with a predominant indigenous population. Responding to a Zero Hour notice in the Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said in a written statement: 15% applicants In districts close to the Bangladesh border, like South Salmara, 7.22% applicants were excluded from the draft NRC. This figure in Dhubri is 8.26% and in Karimganj 7.67%. But districts where indigenous people live, like Karbi Anglong, the figure is 14.31% and in upper Assam25%.67%, and in Karimganj 56.36% The state government went on to claim that the reports This was the reason the state demanded a 20% reverification in districts closer to the Bangladesh border and 10% reverification in others, it said. On August 13, however, the Supreme Court refused to be drawn into this debate and stressed that it wants the final NRC out on schedule Currently, over 41 lakh people have been excluded from the complete draft of the NRC.