- Deadline for filing additional papers for Assam NRC to be extended
- Home Ministry had allotted a month - from August 30 to September 28
- 2.39 crore names are expected to be in the final draft
The staggering number of people excluded from the draft citizens' list of Assam, which triggered a political storm, may be cut down to half in the final register. An official has indicated that it was likely that the number of exclusions from the final list could be 20 lakh instead of the existing 40 lakh. The home ministry, the official said, has also agreed to extend the deadline for filing of additional documents for the National Register of Citizens.
The ministry had allotted a month - from August 30 to September 28 - for filing of claims and objections. It would now submit the extended timeline and schedule to the Supreme Court for its approval. The matter will be heard next on August 16. Various political parties have demanded extension up to December 2018, sources said.
"Not only will the claims of 40 lakh people be filed, we would get some fresh applications. So most of the political parties are of the view that this deadline should be extended," a senior official said.
The state government will need the extra time to spread awareness about how people can file fresh claim and what additional documents are needed. In many cases, replies have to come from other states, which would also take time.
There's more that's worrying the home ministry officials. "It is being suspected that in some cases, the name of an individual has appeared in final draft who is not a valid citizen. How would this anomaly be rectified? It is going to a major hurdle," another official said.
About 2.89 crore names are expected to be in the final draft and it is being suspected some people submitted fake papers to get into the rolls.
Another contentious issue facing the Centre is how to deal with D voters. In 1996, the Election Commission had declared around 1.8 lakh voters as doubtful.
"Some of these people have got favourable orders from courts to prove their citizenship and their applications would be processed," said an officer, adding the figure has crossed 2 lakh in last 22-odd years.
The draft list was finalised by the circle and block level officials, but now anomalies would need to be fixed. A higher authority will be appointed for it. As of now, 55,000 administrative officers throughout the state are working on the list.