OFFICERS are racing against time to publish an error-free NRC for Assam as several lakh migrants remain worried

OFFICERS are racing against time to publish an error-free NRC for Assam as several lakh migrants remain worried WITH the deadline fast approaching for the publication of the updated NRC on July 31 by The Registrar General of India under the supervision of the Supreme Court, The Assam Police has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to deal with misinformation campaign and rumors related to the vital issue through social media. Countless migrants from erstwhile Bangladesh who have reportedly vastly changed the Assam’s socio-economic and demographic profile remain worried after they have failed to submit some crucial documents. State Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has assured them that the government will provide legal assistance to those whose names will not be mentioned in the National Register of Citizens being update for the first time since 1951 as per the Tripartite Assam Accord of August 15, 1985.It was signed by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, The Assam Government’s Chief  Secretary PP Srivastava and the ASSU President Prafulla Kumar Mahanta to end the anti-foreigners’ movement in the north-eastern state. Apprehending law and order problem, the Assam Police is also launching a campaign through its social media les to sensitize the people. Several cases have already been registered against people who posted inflammatory materials on the social media. Speaking to The Assam Tribune, Harmeet Singh, who heads the Social Media Centre of the Assam Police, said, “We are alert to the fact that mischievous elements may try and spread rumors through social media and are not sitting   idle. Even the citizens themselves inform us regarding any misleading post or circulating fake news. Steps will be taken accordingly to ensure peace. This may include legal action, counselling, removal of posts from social media, etc. We are also initiating a sensitization programme to make people aware regarding the factual and legal position and the steps being taken by the government to avoid any harassment to general public. “Spreading of misinformation campaign on the social media can cause problems and that is why, the police is on the alert. In case of someone posting inflammatory materials through the social media, which can lead to disturbing public peace, cases are registered and legal actions are taken against concerned persons. But in some minor incidents like posting misleading information, the concerned persons are asked to remove their posts. There are also instances where minors forwarded posts without realizing the gravity of the situation and in such cases, they are called with their parents for counselling. The Assam Tribune added. There have been instances where the police had to get in touch with the organizations running the social media platforms like the Facebook and Twitter to remove inflammatory posts. “We are receiving good cooperation from such organizations. Depending on the gravity of the post, such organizations normally remove the posts within a day and sometimes, the posts are removed within hours,” sources added. The positive aspect is that there have been a number of instances, where the common people informed the police about inflammatory and misleading posts as it is not possible for the law enforcing agencies to check each and every social media post. In most cases, the common people even strongly countered the misleading social media posts, which is a very positive development in recent times. Some misleading social media posts are originating from abroad on the NRC and on the positive side, the common people are strongly countering it, sources told The Assam Tribune. The Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police of all the districts have also been directed to take effective steps to monitor the cyber space and to either inform the Social Media Centre or directly deal with it if the posts originated from the areas under their jurisdiction. The Chief Minister, who recently held a meeting with the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to review the security scenario, also directed them to keep a close watch on the social media and to take action against anyone found to be instigating people. An organization against infiltration from across the border has meanwhile accused the Assam Government of “doing nothing at the right time” to ensure an error-free NRC The ruling BJP was only interested in including Hindu Bangladeshis in the document, it added .It is now “evident” that the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the final version of which will be published on August 31, will include a large number of foreigners illegally living in Assam, claimed the Prabajan Virodhi Manch (Forum Against Infiltration).”They (the State Government and the BJP) were only so happy to turn a blind eye whenever discrepancies in the NRC process came to light — be it officers/personnel caught on video seeking bribe, foreigner being deployed in the NRC process, daily reports in the media of subversion of the NRC process, etc,” chief of the Manch Upamanyu Hazarika said in a statement at Guwhati.The upcoming NRC is riddled with flaws including a large number of foreigners,” said Hazarika. “Their singular obsession was to include Hindu Bangladeshis in the NRC by granting them citizenship. They were not even bothered about large scale inclusion of foreigners in the draft NRC,” he alleged. After the first NRC draft was published on December 31, 2017, the Chief Minister had described it as ‘historic’, and now the BJP is crying foul over the inclusion of a large number of illegal foreigners in the document, he said. “Either, they are enacting a drama to assuage the sentiments of the indigenous people…, or it is plain incompetence,” he said. The Manch chief said the only alternative left to protect the identity of Assamese people is to ensure that land, employment and trade licenses are reserved only for the indigenous people as is the case in other Northeastern States. The BJP on Monday attacked NRC State coordinator Prateek Hajela apprehending that foreigners might make it to the final version of the register. On August 1, BJP members in the Assam Assembly had claimed that the rate of exclusion of NRC applicants in the districts bordering Bangladesh was less than the State average of 12.5 per cent (edited by Pranab Kumar Chakravarty).

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