'Negative elements' trying to disrupt NRC update; create unrest in Assam, says Sarbananda Sonowal
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on May 21 claimed that "negative elements" were trying to disrupt the ongoing process to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and his government was determined to thwart any such attempts.
Sonowal also asked "genuine" Indian citizens not to panic as their concerns would be adequately addressed in the mega exercise aimed at identifying those illegal immigrants who had entered the state after 1971.
"There are some negative elements. These negative elements are trying to disrupt the smooth proceedings of the NRC update. The state government is alive to the situation.
"There are some groups which are trying to create unrest in Assam in the name of NRC. Our government is determined to thwart any such attempts," he told PTI
Sonowal is in the national capital and he held a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and top officials of the Union Home Ministry to review the present security scenario in the state and preparation to deal with any possible law and order situation which may arise after the publication of the final NRC on July 31.
"Both the state and the central government will take adequate steps for peaceful publication of the NRC. I appeal to the people to extend cooperation, the way they did during the publication of the draft last year," he said.
The chief minister said grievances of all bonafide Indian citizens will be adequately addressed in the update process of the NRC, a list of Assam's residents.
"No one should panic. No genuine Indians will be harassed," he said.
Sonowal warned extremist elements not to indulge in violence and said no such person will be spared.
"Strong action will be taken against anyone who involves in violence or helps extremists. The state has recorded the most peaceful Lok Sabha elections. A record 81.52 percent people (of the electorate) exercised their franchise," he said.
When the draft NRC was published on July 30, 2018, there was a huge controversy over the exclusion of 40.7 lakh people from it. The draft NRC included the names of 2.9 crore people out of the total 3.29 crore applications.
Some 30 lakh of the 40.7 lakh people, left out of the draft of NRC, filed for inclusion of their names in the document. Around 600 objections were submitted by individuals who suspect the citizenship of others who made it to the list.
The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the NRC update process, has made it clear that the final NRC has to be published on July 31, 2019.