Assam NRC: Petitioner Thanks Couple Who Took Initiative

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Guwahati(PTI): Abhijeet Sarma, the main petitioner who had moved a plea in the Supreme Court for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, has given credit to an elderly couple and a government officer for their initiative.

The process for updating the NRC, the basic legal document for proof of Assamese identity, began in 2009 when the reclusive Pradip Kumar Bhuyan prepared the draft of the writ petition and persuaded Sarma, president of Assam Public Works (APW), a voluntary organisation, to be its petitioner in the apex court.

“It is because of Pradip Kumar Bhuyan, his wife Banti Bhuyan and government officer, Naba Kumar Deka Baruah, that we have got the complete draft of NRC. It was due to their constant persuasion that we had approached the Supreme Court to enumerate the Indian citizens living in Assam.

“The octogenarian Bhuyan couple spent a huge amount of money from their own sources for our legal fight in the apex court,” Sarma said.

The Bhuyans are pioneer educationists having started a private English medium school in Guwahati during the 70s, which is now one of the premier schools in Assam.

Assam witnessed the publication of the historic complete draft of the NRC yesterday in which 2,89,83,677 people were included out of a total 3,29,91,384 applicants.

Names of around 40.07 lakh applicants, however, did not figure in the document.

In an interview to city-based English newspaper Assam Tribune, Bhuyan has exuded satisfaction over the outcome of the NRC updating process.

Claiming no credit for it, Bhuyan said the NRC update is a homage to the martyrs of the Assam agitation (1979-1985).

Bhuyan said the indigenous people of the state should ever remain grateful to the participants of the Assam agitation, the Supreme Court and to NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela, his team and thousands of field workers who accomplished the mammoth task in such a dedicated manner.

“The complete draft is a fair draft. Over 40 lakh names have been excluded from it. We were apprehensive of this size of illegal migrants in Assam. Though some changes may occur in this figure, it won’t be significant,” he said.

“… There are many others, who did not apply deliberately, knowing well that they are illegally staying in Assam. We are yet to ascertain their size, feared to be a significant one. However, this could be determined through meticulous scrutiny at the booth level,” Bhuyan told the daily.

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