Testimony Of
Parul and Shukla Hajong

Parul Hajong, 43, had submitted a voters’ list that had the name of her grandfather, Radhakanta Hajong, son of Budhu Ram, as her legacy document. Her father’s name, Kshitish Hajong was also in the same legacy document. However, it turns out that their constituency has at least one more Radhakanta, son of Budhu Ram and so her claim was rejected.

Parul is from Derapathar village of the Lanka circle of Hojai district, a village that has seen a record number of exclusions during the NRC process. Interestingly this is a village where a lot of people came and settled after post-partition violence in east Pakistan in 1966-67.

Her first hearing was in Lanka where the officer misbehaved and abused the attendees. This has been a common complaint by others who were at these hearings.

The second hearing was at Bhalukmari where they submitted land-tax records or maati-khajana to supplement their claim. The officer informally assured her that these papers were enough. He also suggested she offer him a couple of chickens from her farm to help speed things up.

Parul had to go back on four different occasions just for her biometric validation. Each time she had received notices for the hearings three or four days in advance and was instructed to reach the office by 9 am, which meant that she couldn’t rely on public transport and had to hire a private car. This set her back by Rs. 2200 for each trip.

Parul’s legacy data has been frozen as per policy, so she cannot use her mother’s legacy document even if she wants to.  Parul also has a widowed sister-in-law, Putli Hajong who is finding it very difficult to navigate the labyrinthine administrative corridors to trace and establish her legacy.

Their neighbor and fellow-clanswoman, 50-year-old Shukla Hajong is a widowed mother of three daughters, all of whom are married and live with their husbands. Neither she nor her daughters made it to the list. For herself she had submitted her father’s legacy documents. For her daughters, she had furnished her older brother-in-law’s Rehabilitation Eligibility certificate proving that he had moved there in 1966 when the erstwhile Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru relocated many refugees and survivors of violence from East Pakistan.

Her husband was not of voting age in 1971 so he didn't have his name on the voters' list, as required for the NRC. The Panchayat Secretary had even certified Shukla’s connection with her husband and his brother. Copies of PAN cards and Electoral IDs were submitted.

The hearings happened first in Lanka and then thrice in Lamding. Yet, none of them made it into the list.

Shukla is very conscious of the fact that she lives with her daughter and son-in-law.  She doesn't like to burden them with her needs. She sold her harvest to pay for her appearance at her hearings. Her daughters try to help a little but their husbands are daily-wage workers and have already lost many working days and much money attending repeated court hearings, both for their own families as well as for their wives’ family.