Time has run out for a retired headmaster of an Assam
government school for inclusion in the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) to be published by July 31. The reason is the delay by officials — despite a court order — in starting the process for correcting a clerical error that snatched his voting rights 22 years ago.
The teacher, who declined to be named, was first enlisted in 1975 as a voter under the Lakhipur Assembly constituency in southern Assam’s Bengali-speaking Barak Valley. But the Election Commission of India (ECI) marked him a D-voter, or doubtful voter, in 1997.
Assam is the only state with D-voters. The case of a person thus tagged has to be forwarded by an Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) to the Superintendent of Police (Border) concerned for referring to a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) that decides whether or not a person is a genuine Indian citizen.
Assam is also the only State where the police has a border wing tasked with detecting and deporting foreigners or illegal immigrants. It was formed in 1962, initially to prevent infiltration by people of Pakistani origin.