The BJP in Assam lashed out at the official overseeing the National Register of Citizens, a list to weed out illegal settlers, accusing him of working for "some vested interest" on Wednesday.
Prateek Hajela, the coordinator for the National Register of Citizens or NRC, had told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that 27 per cent of the names in the draft NRC had been verified once again. Based on Mr Hajela's report, the top court turned down a request by the centre and Assam government to have up to 20 per cent of the names on the draft NRC, particularly in districts bordering Bangladesh, checked again.
"We are opposed to the fact that without any instruction from the Supreme Court, Hajela went forward on his own to do what he claims as re-verification of 27 per cent of the names. Both centre and state had pleaded for re-verification only to ensure that not a single genuine Indian is left out or any illegal gets entry. We are apprehensive that Hajela is working on behest of some vested interest," the Assam unit of the BJP said in a statement.
Attempts by NDTV to contact NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela for his reaction over phone went unanswered till the time of filing this report.
Sachetan Nagarik Mancha, a civil society group from Assam which collected signatures of 25 lakh people from Assam last year on a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind alleging that the draft NRC was diluted with the inclusion of Bangladeshis, faulted the government for not pushing hard enough to get the names re-verified.
But the All Assam Minority Students' Union (AAMSU), one of the parties in the ongoing case over the NRC in the Supreme Court, said the re-verification plea was an attempt to delay the final list.
"It appears that the political class is behind this and they don't want to settle the NRC and they want to reap political benefits out of it," said Md Imtiaz Hussain, the general secretary of AAMSU.
Assam, which had faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is currently updating its NRC which was first prepared in 1951. The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the deadline for the final publication of the list from July 31 to August 31.
The ongoing process to update the list has triggered concerns from rights groups with more than 40 lakh people excluded from the draft NRC so far.
A person whose name is not part of the NRC can approach any such tribunal with a certified copy of the rejection order received from the NRC authorities along with the grounds for appeal.