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Why is the Assam NRC coordinator under fire

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    New Delhi, Sep 11: The state coordinator of the NRC finds himself in a spot of bother after the ruling BJP in Assam reacted sharply on the suggestions made by him. The coordinator, Prateek Hajela had suggested to the Supreme Court to strike out of five of the listed 15 documents for the claims and objection process of the NRC exercise.

    The Supreme Court had on September 5 deferred the commencement of the process of receiving claims and objections till further orders.

    Why is the Assam NRC coordinator under fire

    A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman had perused the report of Hajela and said it agreed to his suggestions that 10 of a total 15 documents provided in List-A of the claims form could be used by the applicants to prove their legacy. The court also sought the response of the Centre and other stakeholders on the matter.

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    Addressing a press meet in Guwahati, state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said Hajela's submission negates the decisions taken under the Assam Accord, 1985. "We would like to ask Prateek Hajela who gave him the authority to make such a submission for curtailing the number of documents required to prove identity during the claims and objections process."

    Dass accused Hajela of not consulting the groups, which are parties in the National Register of Citizens case in the top court. "Hajela did not even check with the state government. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has also confirmed that he was not consulted when I met him over the issue.

    "If all these documents were allowed in the application stage for inclusion in the NRC (in 2015), how can they be disallowed now? It is like changing the rules of the game 15 minutes ahead of completion time," he said.

    The five documents, suggested for exclusion, includes the NRC of 1951, electoral roll of 1971, citizenship certificate, refugee certificate and ration card -- all issued either by the Centre or the state government, in keeping with the provisions of the Assam Accord.

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    "If Hajela had found anomalies or difficulties in the list of documents, he should have pointed out earlier. The NRC is in the final stage of completion now," Dass added.

    He informed that the state BJP had written to its central leadership, including national president Amit Shah and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, demanding affidavits in the apex court against Hajela's proposal.

    Stating that the exclusion of the five documents may lead to the omission of several people, Dass asserted that the party would fight to ensure that the names of no genuine Indian citizens were left out of the register.

    Hajela has come under fire from both ruling and Opposition parties in the state for his suggestion to the court.

    Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia had earlier accused Hajela of misleading the Supreme Court and sought his removal.

    The final draft of the NRC was published on July 30, in which over lakh applicants did not make it to the list.

    The Centre had said adequate opportunities would be given to the people to make claims and objections before the publication of the final list.

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