Assam appoints New NRC Coordinator

The Assam government has appointed IAS officer Partha Pratim Mazumdar as the state coordinator of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as the incumbent official Hitesh Dev Sharma retiring from service on Sunday, officials said on Friday.

Mazumdar, who is currently Registrar, Cooperative Societies and Secretary to the Women and Child Development Department (additional), will also serve as secretary of the Home and Political Department of the government.

Hitesh Dev Sarma had recently filed an FIR in the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption wing of the state government alleging corruption and money laundering by his predecessor Prateek Hajela.

He had also lodged a complaint that the software was deliberately designed to avoid quality checks.

Dev Sarma accused Hajela of intentionally doing this which in turn gave free hands to some officials for including doubtful citizens in the NRC list.

In Assam, persons who have entered India before March 25, 1971, have to prove their citizenship.

To distinguish Indian citizens from undocumented immigrants living in Assam and to update the 1951 NRC in Assam, the statutory notification for starting the Supreme Court-monitored exercise was issued in December 2013.

The draft list was published in August 2019, excluding 19.06 lakh out of 3.3 crore applications for lack of adequate documents for establishing their Indian citizenship.

The state government had called the final draft of the NRC “faulty” and had alleged that it has excluded several indigenous people of Assam.

Assam’s 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals were tasked with hearing the appeals of those excluded in the NRC list.

The declared “foreigners” are kept in the detention centres, or transit camps as they are now being called. Since 2008, the detention centres are located within the central jails of Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Jorhat, Kokrajhar, Silchar and Tezpur.

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