POST TIME: 13 January, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Unable to reapply for NRC, many in limbo
The Hindu, Delhi

Unable to reapply for NRC, many in limbo

Deepika Devi ceased to be her father’s Rani, or Queen, when – at 16 – she eloped with a neighbourhood driver in central Assam’s Lumding town. The ‘Rani’ that her father had fondly added to her name during admission at a government primary school there in 1956 has now pushed her into a well of uncertainty.

She eked out a living by binding books in a nearby town after her husband died in an accident. She had to move out with her three children because her in-laws had thrown her out and her father had vowed never to see her again.

Life, despite the hardship, was fairly good for Deepika Devi until after July 30, 2018, when she found out that she and most members of her family — two sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandsons — had been excluded from the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

 “My in-laws, who are all in the NRC, did not give me any document that could establish our link with my father-in-law. My father, who got a railway job in Assam in the 1940s, did not preserve any papers. So to get a pre-1971 document, I went back to the school to get a certificate,” she said.

March 24, 1971, is the cut-off date for detecting and deporting illegal immigrants in Assam, under an accord signed in 1985 to end a violent six-year agitation.

The certificate, signed by the district’s inspector of schools, shows she was admitted at age six in the Lumding school in 1956 but her name read Deepika Rani, instead of only Deepika in the documents acquired later. NSK (NRC Seva Kendra) officials rejected her claim form during the fag-end of the claims and objections phase that ended December 31 last.

The claims window from September 25 to December 31 was provided for 40.07 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants, who had been excluded from the complete NRC draft, to be on the list again after submission of relevant citizenship documents. About 31.2 lakh people reapplied, but there are fears many of them would be excluded again after scrutiny by June 30.