State Finance Minister of India Himanta Biswa Sarma on November 28 said the government will disclose district-wise figures of Hindu Bengalis excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list during the ongoing winter assembly session.
Around 19 lakh people were excluded from the list, according to the final NRC list, published on August 31.
The state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) believes that many of these people are Bengali Hindus, who entered the state from Bangladesh as refugees in the early 1970s, but their refugee certificates issued by the government were not accepted as a valid document for citizenship during the NRC exercise, reports The Times of India, an Indian daily newspaper.
"We now have district-wise break-ups of the number of Bengali Hindus excluded from the NRC. These details have to be made public at some point of time," Sarma said.
"We have decided to do so during the current assembly session. Earlier, we didn't have these data because the NRC had not been prepared. Now we have it with us," he added.
Sarma further said the NRC details might be placed in the assembly either on December 4 or 5. The current session of the assembly, which began on November 28, comes to an end on December 6.
On the first day of the current session, opposition parties, including minority-dominated All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Congress, staged a walkout in protest against the government's decision to the final NRC.
"It's people like Lok Sabha member and AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal and Congress leader Rockybul Hussain who are against the rejection of the NRC. This proves in whose interest Hajela was working. This also shows that BJP is moving in the right direction (by asking for a fresh NRC)," Sarma said.
"On the contrary, All Assam Students Union (Aasu) has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court. Not a single Assamese person has taken to the street to oppose the demand for scrapping of the NRC," he said.
"We believe that there should be one NRC for the entire country with one single cut-off date," he added.
Asked if the new NRC would have a different cut-off date other than 1971, which, otherwise will be in violation of the Assam Accord, Sarma said, "I was not a signatory to the accord. Even the Assam assembly hasn't approved it. Former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, who is committed to the accord, must think about it."
Earlier, Sarma had said between four and five lakh Bengali Hindu refugees did not make it to the final NRC list, and most of them were from Barak Valley bordering Bangladesh. He had also emphasised that the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) would solve the problem of these people which, in other words, means they will be eligible for Indian citizenship.
At the time of NRC publication, NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela submitted to the Supreme Court in a sealed envelope the district-wise break-ups of the people excluded from the citizenship roll.
Prior to this, the apex court had ordered submission of NRC's "confidential" reports in sealed covers and had said the details could not be made available to anyone else because of their "sensitive nature".
In the August session of the assembly, the government had released the district-wise percentage of the 40.07 lakh people, who did not find place in last year's draft NRC. It had then said interior districts had more people who failed the NRC test than the districts lying alongside Bangladesh.
Against this backdrop, the state government had earlier sought re-verification of 20 percent of the NRC data.
Recently, it asked the Union Home Ministry to reject the "faulty" final NRC. This was followed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah's announcement that the Centre would carry out a countrywide NRC exercise, including Assam.