In yet another repercussion of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, all activities and processes related to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) have been suspended till situation improves in Assam. For the last one week no body has been manning the Nagrik Seva Kendras (NSK) and the NRC headquarters in Guwahati also bears a deserted look.
Speaking to SabrangIndia NRC State Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma said, “Only essential staff from my Guwahati office is working and that too from home. All processes have been temporarily put on hold.”
It is noteworthy that March 20, 2020 was the deadline to start issuing rejection slips to people whose names had been excluded from the final NRC that was published on August 31, 2019. These rejection slips bear the reason for rejection of application for inclusion of name in the NRC and are based on speaking orders from hearings that were conducted as a part of the Claims and Objections process. People had been awaiting these slips in order to move forward with the process of defending their citizenship before Foreigners’ Tribunals which was the next step for them. But even this process has been put on hold now.
But Sarma told SabrangIndia, “No, we will not be able to issue rejection slips from March 20. This is because of the systems put in place due to the corona virus outbreak.”
When asked if there was an end date to the hold he said, “We cannot say till when because we don’t know when the situation will improve.”