Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said the number of people excluded from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens in the state will “drastically change” after all claims and objections are processed, reported PTI.
Reiterating what the state government as well as the Centre’s stand on the matter, Sarma said the document was only a draft. “In our NRC, names of many people are not there,” he told PTI. “This number will drastically change after claims and objections are taken into consideration.” The final document will be ready by the end of 2018.
On July 30, the Assam government published the final draft of the register, which excluded more than 40 lakh of 3.29 crore applicants from the list. Several parties have protested against the publication of the draft list. A day after the document was published, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to not take coercive action against those not in the list.
Sarma went on to suggest that other states can replicate the Assam model of National Register of Citizens. “Let Assam produce a correct and perfect NRC,” he said. “Then people should try to replicate it.”
This is in line with what several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have already demanded. While BJP lawmaker Nishikant Dubey has called for a nationwide register, the party’s Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari has asked the Centre to start work on building a citizenship register for the national Capital to identify and expel “foreign infiltrators”.
Rajasthan’s Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said after the draft’s publication that other states should consider following Assam in compiling the register so that “traitors living freely can be traced”. BJP’s West Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh has promised a similar drive in the state if the party comes to power there.
However, Sarma ruled out the necessity for such a counting drive in Tripura. “Going by the demography of Tripura, I don’t think there is a huge requirement,” the minister observed. “Assam’s demography has changed. NRC revision is being done in Assam as per the Assam Accord. But in Tripura, there is no accord, no cut-off date, neither in any way to generate any legacy document.
The Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura, which is the BJP’s ally in the state, has demand such an exercise be carried out there. On August 23, the party is scheduled to hold a mega rally in Khumulwng, which is the headquarters of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council. But Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who was also present when Sarma spoke with reporters, said he was unaware of any such demand.