Assam has a total population of 3.29 crore residents and a whopping 1.39 crore people living in the state don’t come under the first draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC). To fix this situation, NRC has now announced to verify the citizenship of 29 lakh of Assam’s married Muslim migrant women. The process starts from April 2. The state government published the first draft of NRC on December 31 last year.

While the women had submitted residency certificates, issued by gram panchayats, to claim citizenship, they still did not get citizenship because in 2017, the Gauhati High Court had ordered that the panchayat- issued certificates could not be a basis to prove citizenship.

“The process includes a hearing-based model in which we will call each married woman in question to a place close to the residence of her father. That place should come under a circle or tehsil which issued her documents. The officer will also call the person who issued the certificate. He or she will bring evidence based on which he or she issued the certificate. So we will examine both parties together.”

But in some time the matter moved to the Supreme Court which held that the documents are functional to establish the linkage of a person with his or her father but only after due verification. It is only because of the order passed by the court that NRC is carrying out the process of verification. SC is also watching over the verification/ process of NRC in Assam.

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Prateek Hajela, NRC state coordinator told TNIE that the verification work will happen across the state.

“The process includes a hearing-based model in which we will call each married woman in question to a place close to the residence of her father. That place should come under a circle or tehsil which issued her documents. The officer will also call the person who issued the certificate. He or she will bring evidence based on which he or she issued the certificate. So we will examine both parties together. Eventually, the special verification officer will come to a conclusion on whether or not NRC can accept the certificate,” Hajela said.

Throughout the state, there are 1235 centres for verification which employ a total of 2500 officers. SC has instructed the NRC department to finish the verification process by May 31.

Picture credit- roots of wealth

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