No NRC exercise taken up in Mizoram, says official

Aizawl, March 5 (IANS): A senior Mizoram government officer on Thursday denied claims that the process of preparing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was going on in Lunglei district of the northeastern state. 

He made it clear that the state had undertaken a survey only to identify unauthorised villages and illegal foreigners, if any, in the district. 

Chakma leaders belonging to all political parties in Mizoram and six NGOs of the tribal community had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the central government''s intervention to stop the preparation of the NRC by the Mizoram government.

Lunglei district''s acting Deputy Commissioner Pu R. Vanrengpuia on Thursday categorically said that no NRC preparation was underway, as claimed by the different Chakma leaders and the NGOs.

"According to a decision of the state-level screening committee of the Local Administration Department, the district administration is conducting a survey to identify unauthorised villages in Lunglei district along the Bangladesh border," Vanrengpuia told IANS over phone.

He said that the survey was also undertaken to ascertain whether any foreign national was residing in these villages inhabited by Chakma tribals. 

The Chakma leaders of the ruling Mizo National Front, Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress and the National Peoples Party and six NGOs, including the Chakma National Council of India, had in a memorandum to the Prime Minister sought his intervention to stop what they called the NRC exercise. 

Mizoram''s Chakma Autonomous District Council Chief Executive Member Rashik Mohan Chakma, BJP''s lone MLA Buddha Dhan Chakma, former minister and BJP''s national council member Nirupam Chakma are among the signatories to the memorandum.

The memorandum said: "Illegal NRC being conducted in at least 14 Chakma-inhabited villages under Lunglei district. No such survey is being conducted in any Mizo-inhabited village." 

"On February 13, an officer of the Lunglei district administration issued a notice to the presidents of the village councils, asking them to participate in the illegal NRC on the pretext of verification and identification of unauthorised settlements," it added.

The memorandum claimed that the district administration had circulated a proforma asking villagers to furnish their names, places of birth, nationality and religion, name of last village they had lived in and the period of stay along with documents like voter identity cards, Aadhaar cards, and educational certificates.
"Mizoram''s NRC form has six more questions which were not included in Assam''s NRC," the memorandum claimed. 

The Chakma leaders had urged Modi to "stand by his declaration at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi on December 22 last year that ever since his government has come to power in 2014, there has been no discussion on NRC anywhere."

Buddhist Chakmas are a minority in Christian-dominated Mizoram. According to Chakma leaders, three lakh Chakma tribals live in Bangladesh, 2.2 lakh in India and 30,000 in Myanmar.

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