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    SC Asks Assam NRC Coordinator To Explain ‘Communal’ Facebook Posts

    The Supreme Court on January 6th, 2020 sought an explanation from the new Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma on his “communal” statements on a social media platform before his appointment. The top court also directed the Assam government to look into the allegations

    Sarma, a 1989-batch Assam Civil Service officer, succeeded Prateek Hajela. He was appointed as the Assam NRC Coordinator on November 10th, 2019. He also served as the executive director of the Assam NRC updation exercise from 2014 to February 2017.

    Prior to his appointment, Sarma has made several posts on Facebook which have been critical of ‘East Pakistani Muslims’ (Muslims from Bangladesh) residing in the state. In one such post on October 1st, 2019, Sarma said: “I like Arnab Goswami’s logic. We can not accept a foreigner as Indian even if he speaks Assamese. A very valid point.”

    Here’s few screenshots of his posts:

    After his appointment, Barpeta Congress MP Abdul Khaleque had written to Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, urging them to reconsider the decision.

    Khaleque wrote that Sarma “is not a fit person to handle such a sensitive post” and referred to his posts on Facebook.

    The names of 3,11,21,004 persons were found eligible and 19,06,657 persons were excluded from the final NRC list including those who did not submit claims. The final list was published by the Assam government on August 31st, 2019.

    Political parties, several organisations have vociferously expressed their unhappiness with the final exclusion figures. They claimed that a large number of indigenous people were excluded from the final NRC list.

    Photo: /hitesh.sarma2

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