60 orphans from Guwahati NGO pass citizens’ test

Guwahati, Sept. 18, 2019: Even as the National Register of Citizens (NRC) have become a nightmare for many people from the indigenous communities who failed to make the cut, the register has included 60 orphans brought up in Snehalaya Orphanage in Guwahati.

These children were rescued without any valid documents that could prove their Indian citizenship, which became a serious
concern for Snehalaya NGO of the Don Bosco Society when the NRC updating exercise began. But timely intervention of the
NRC authority has brought cheers to the lives of these children.

“Parental linkage of the orphaned children was the biggest worry when the process of filing NRC forms started. Fortunately, our
concerns regarding the lack of legacy documents of these children reached the then governor of Assam PB Acharya in 2015, and ultimately the NRC state coordinator’s office initiated the process of inserting the names of the children housed in registered orphanage homes in the updated NRC,” said Deba Kumar Dutta, senior programme co-ordinator at the Child Friendly Guwahati project of Snehalaya, which has five shelter homes in the city.

“As the final NRC status has been published, we are happy that these orphaned children who did not have any papers to prove
their nationality can now proudly say that they are Indian,” Dutta added.

Except for the school documents of these children, they had no other documents through which the NRC officials could
ascertain their nationality. But Dutta said that the NRC authority had been kind enough and the claimants from Snehalaya who
did not find any relative to apply for NRC inclusion has made the cut to the citizenship register without any hassle.

Kabita Barman, a Class IX student of Beltola High School who resides in Jyoti Snehalaya, one of the five shelter homes of the NGO, said, “I feel privileged to get included in the NRC. Though, I don’t know anything about my parents, it’s heartening to gain entry into the NRC, which has confirmed that I am an Indian citizen.”

Bishal Sharma from Snehalaya Centre for Child Rights located in Paltan Bazar area of the city could not recollect the adversities
that brought him to the shelter home here in the heart of the city at a very young age.

He was not concerned of the nationality question until the NRC exercise carried the challenge of proving his citizenship few years ago. But Bishal, who has now found a place in the final NRC, said, “When I came to know about my inclusion, it gave me immense pleasure. NRC has given me the identity which I was searching for.”


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