Sahitya Akademi Awardee, Martyr's Family Excluded From Assam Citizen List

Sahitya Akademi awardee Durga Khatiwada along with the family members of Baijyanti Devi, the first woman martyr of Assam Agitation, have been excluded from the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens.

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Sahitya Akademi Awardee, Martyr's Family Excluded From Assam Citizen List

More than 40 lakh people were excluded from the draft NRC last year. (File)


Guwahati: 

Sahitya Akademi awardee Durga Khatiwada along with the family members of Baijyanti Devi, the first woman martyr of Assam Agitation, have been excluded from the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), an organisation of the Gorkhas said on Sunday.

Along with them, Manju Devi, the great granddaughter of freedom fighter Chabilal Upadhyay, has also been left out from the NRC upgrade process, they said.

"These three prominent cases involved Gorkhas and the NRC process has disrespected the community by excluding them, and the matter may be taken to court if not resolved," Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BhaGoPa) National Secretary Nanda Kirati Dewan said at a press conference in Guwahati.

"Families of freedom fighters and martyrs of Assam Agitation have been disrespected by excluding them from NRC. This is not only disrespect to the Gorkhas, but also an insult to the freedom fighters and martyrs," Mr Dewan said.

The six-year-long Assam Agitation over identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the All Assam Students Union in 1979. It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in the presence of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

He said Sahitya Akademi awardee and president of Assam Nepali Sahitya Sabha Durga Khatiwada's name has appeared in the Exclusion List released by the NRC authorities on June 26.

"Khatiwada holds 1951 NRC of his father as legacy. Although names of all his family members' have been included in the NRC, he was excluded," Mr Dewan added.

Baijyanti Devi's father Amar Upadhyay said names of his grandsons Rohitakash and Mihiran along with their mother Nirmala Devi also featured in the exclusion list.

He said, "The names of their father and grandfather have appeared in the draft NRC. Their legacy person is Baijayanti Devi's father who is around 90 years old."

Mr Dewan said another important case of exclusion from NRC came to the notice of BhaGoPa in Gorkha-dominated Tezpur.

"Manju Devi, the great granddaughter of freedom fighter Chabilal Upadhyay, who was the founder of Congress party in Assam, has also been left out despite having shown proven parental lineage," he said.

Manju Devi was told that she had been marked 'D' (doubtful) Voter in 2005 and that is why her name along with those of her sons and daughters were excluded.

Manju Devi filed an RTI on this matter, got a clearance certificate from the Sonitpur Superintendent of Police and submitted its copy to the election department, without any positive result, Mr Dewan said.

"If this continues, she cannot make it to the NRC. The Foreigners'' Tribubal has so far not issued any notice to Manju Devi in this matter. Her fate just hangs in limbo," he said.

Asked about their future course of action, Mr Dewan said, certified copies will be sought from the competent authorities to ascertain the reasons of the exclusions.

The matter will then be taken to court as the BhaGoPa is one of the parties in the Supreme Court on the NRC hearing case, he added.

BhaGoPa state general secretary Prakash Dahal said it is a blot on Assam Movement that the family of its first woman martyr has been left out doubting their nationality.

"The issue should be resolved on or before last date of publication of the final NRC," he added.

The Supreme Court-monitored NRC updation exercise is being carried out in Assam to identify illegal immigrants in the state which faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century.

The draft published on July 30 last year included the names of 2.9 crore people out of total applicants of 3.29 crore, leaving out 40 lakh people.

The first draft published during the intervening nights of December 31 and January 1 of 2017-19 contained 1.9 crore names. An Additional Draft Exclusion List consisting of 1.02 lakh persons from NRC was published on June 26 this year. 



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