Even as the December 15 deadline for filing NRC Claim forms looms large, nearly 32 lakh people are yet to file their claims. Over the last 73 days, only 8,10,000 people have been able to complete the process. That comes to approximately 11,095 application filed per day. Given how now there are less than ten days left, out of which only five are working days, it is obvious that the remaining people will not be able to complete the application process in time!
A total of 40,07,707 persons failed to find their names in the NRC final draft that was published on July 30, 2018. This means, more than 80 percent of the people whose names had not been included in the NRC yet to submit their applications as a part of the claims and objections process. The fast approaching deadline is only casting a dark shadow over their future. What will happen to those who fail to submit their claim applications within stimulated period?
Over four million people have been left out of the NRC draft, most of them from socio-economically backward communities. Now CJP, drawing from its previous experience in providing legal aid in Gujarat, will step in with a multi-faceted team of lawyers and volunteers to ensure that these people receive a fair chance while filing claims across 18 of the worst affected districts. Your contribution can help cover the costs of a legal team, travel, documentation and technological expenses. Please donate generously here.
According to Prof Taizuddin Ahmed, who teaches political science at Bhawanipur Anchalik College, there are two possibilities: If you submit claim forms and your name remains out of final NRC your case may be referred to Foreigners Tribunal; or if you don’t submit your claim form there is high probability of being declared ‘foreigner’
Prof Ahmed, has been burning the midnight oil working closely with CJP’s community volunteers and other youth of Barpeta and Baksa district to help people in filling up NRC claim application forms.
Prof Abdul Mannan who teaches Statistics at Gauhati University says, “Today we find ourselves amidst an unwarranted situation. Everybody in the state and from across the country, should come forward to lend a helping hand to ensure 100% of the claim forms are submitted within the stimulated period. Otherwise the poor and distressed people will have an uphill task ahead.” Appreciating work of CJP, Prof. Mannan says, “It is time to have a rethink. If someone can’t work on the ground like CJP Volunteers, they should have at least support CJP for their noble work.”
First, compiling documents for claim applications is not easy. The SOPs that finally came out after Supreme Court hearing on 1 November have created some complications for filling claim applications for the updating NRC. We know that most people were dropped from the final draft of the NRC because of linkage certificates. It means the Legacy documents or List A documents or the documents prior to 1971 of these people are beyond doubt. But the problem is that if the Legacy documents is in the name of someone’s father, grandfather or great grandfather it is tough establish his linkage with the Legacy Person.
Moreover there are 7 list B documents viz; 1) Birth certificate, 2) Land documents, 3) Board/ university certificates, 4) Bank/ LIC/ post office policy documents, 5) Circle officer / lot mandal / Panchayat secretary certificates, 6) Voters list, 7) Ration card and 8) Others. Among these seven documents, many are not easily available for economically weak and uneducated people, women and children.<
The only alternative that was for the poor, uneducated woman was Panchayat secretary certificates which too was rejected largely during verification. The Supreme Court that permitted the acceptance of Panchayat secretary certificates stipulated that this was pending proper verification.
But, an overwhelming majority of ground level officials appear to be quite ignorant about the Supreme Court directives. So, people are afraid about the situation that a document rejected once may not be acceptable again. So, everyone searching for the alternative documents which may be a substitute to Panchayat Secretary Certificate. But the door is closed for such alternative as in SOP it is strictly mentioned that any documents issued after August 31, 2015 will not be acceptable as List B documents for claim applications.When Team CJP was monitoring the NSK centre it found in Narayanpur NSK in Baksa District that one LRCR was rejecting a land document of 1969 only because of the copy of the document was issued in 1987. Bedanta Bora, the LRCR of the opinion that the document was issued after 1971 so it can’t be a legacy document.
At that time Shanti Ranjan Mitra of the Forum for Social Harmony, who was part of the CJP delegation asked, “I have passed the matriculation examination in 1965. I had lost my Admit card of that Examination. I have bring collected duplicate copy of that Admit card only on yesterday. Is it a document of 1965 or 2018?” Shanti Ranjan Mitra asked the question repeatedly, but the LRCR didn’t cite a single word.
The food fight is on!
Still, the distressed people have not given up their efforts to collect alternative documents. The community volunteers of CJP along with hundreds of educated youth, students and informed people are extending helping hands to gather alternative documents for claim applications.