Guwahati | Congratulating the people of the state for the successful publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today said, “the historic day will remain etched in their memories forever”.
The much-anticipated second and final draft of the NRC with 2.89 crore names out of the total 3.29 crore applicants was published around 10am. The process of publishing the complete draft today was carried out in cooperation with the Registrar General of India, along with the central and the state government officials, under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court, the chief minister said.
“Assam is a peaceful state and I am confident that all sections of the society will come forward to maintain peace and tranquillity. We always abide by the directions of the Supreme Court, and whatever it says, we will sincerely follow and observe it,” Sonowal told reporters here.
However, around 40.07 lakh applicants, did not find a place in the document, touted to be a proof of Assamese identity. The first draft, with 1.9 crore names, was released on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, this year.
A senior police officer said prohibitory orders under Sec 144 of CrPC have been imposed in all the 33 districts of the state as a precautionary measure in the wake of the NRC release. The CM thanked the officials, who were involved in updating the NRC.
“For this remarkable feat, I extend my heartiest congratulations to the 55,000 officials engaged in the NRC updation process and the people living across the Barak and Brahmaputra valleys, plains and hills of the state,” he said. Sonowal expressed confidence that the NRC, which has become the “instrument to safeguard the interest of greater Assamese society,” would be able to pave the way for realising the hopes and aspirations of the genuine Indian citizens.
Both the central and the state governments have extended their support from the very beginning of the NRC publication exercise, he asserted. “After the government led by the BJP and its allies assumed power in 2016 in the state, I went to the NRC office on May 25 that year to take forward the process,” he said.
Sonowal also urged people not to panic if their names did not appear in NRC draft as genuine Indian citizens would get “full opportunity” to make claims and objections. “NRC is a national programme. It is the duty and obligation of every Indian citizen to maintain peace in the wake of its publication. I appeal to all sections of the society to desist from making any inflammatory or communal remarks,” he added.
The NRC will include the names of all Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971. The ground work for this mammoth exercise began in December 2013, and 40 hearings have taken place in the Supreme Court in this regard over the last three years.
The application process for the NRC started in May 2015 and a total of 6.5 crore documents were received from 68.27 lakh families across Assam.