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19 Jul 2018

NRC office counters portal petition

Sumir Karmakar, TT, Jul 19, 2018, Guwahati: The office of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), rebutting a campaign run by online portal Avaaz that compares the foreigners detection exercise in Assam with the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, said here on Wednesday that it would be held responsible for any possible violence.
"The contents of this petition (on Avaaz) are absolutely incorrect and seek to spread misinformation about a very serious and sensitive issue. As such, Avaaz will be held responsible for committing grave illegality by propagating rumour and insinuating absolutely false allegation against NRC update in Assam," NRC state co-ordinator Prateek Hajela said in his rebuttal to the online petition signed by more than 5.21 lakh Internet users from different parts of the world.
Stating that India will delete names of seven million Muslims in Assam from its citizens' list, the petition on Avaaz said, "This is how genocides begin - how the nightmare of the Rohingya began. But its unfolding quietly. If we raise a massive alarm calling for the UN Secretary General and key governments to intervene, we can stop this horror before it starts. Husbands, wives and children could be torn apart and left to rot in prison camps."
Hajela told The Telegraph, "Where did they get the figure of seven million Muslims? Nobody knows the number of foreigners to be detected through NRC till we release it. Also, who told them about prisons for foreigners? All those whose names will not appear in the June 30 final draft will be given the opportunity to submit claims and objectives and later they can move foreigners tribunals. Again, how is genocides associated with NRC? They don't know about NRC and are intentionally trying to slander India and Assam by comparing it with Rohingya (issue) as it draws the attention of the international community."
The NRC is being updated only in Assam under the supervision of the Supreme Court with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date to detect foreigners. A draft of 1.9 crore, of the total 3.29 crore applicants, was released on the midnight of December 31, 2017 and the final draft is slated for release on July 30. Many organisations representing minorities, however, continue to allege that they are being "harassed" in the name of NRC, an allegation already rejected by NRC office and the BJP-led state government.
Hours after the Avaaz campaign was observed on Monday, the NRC office launched a counter-campaign on the same platform, Stop Fake Propaganda against NRC, Assam.
Hajela also objected to sharing of the Avaaz petition on Sabrang India, a portal run by human rights activist Teesta Sitalvaad and Zaved Anand. "I have posted a rebuttal on Sabrang India about the international propaganda but they have not published it yet. They had come here to talk about NRC recently. So why are they sharing the fake propaganda despite knowing that NRC is being updated under legal mandate and is supervised by the Supreme Court? NRC does not differentiate on the basis of religion or language," said Hajela.
Over 1,800 people have criticised Avaaz and signed the pro-NRC petition.

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