On September 3, North East based news portal NENow posted one news saying that Prominent scientist from Assam Jitendra Nath Goswami, who is an advisor of the Chandrayaan II Mission, and his family has been excluded from the recently published NRC in Assam.
Today this news has been widely circulated by several journalists, most of whom are against the NRC, to point out how flawed the NRC is.
India Today journalist exclaimed ‘wow, seriously’, while sharing the news.
— Geeta Mohan گیتا موہن गीता मोहन (@Geeta_Mohan) September 6, 2019
Controversial journalist Suhasini Haidar also declared that “Chandrayaan advisor and family also off NRC list”.
Chandrayaan advisor and family also off NRC list https://t.co/dJ6zbiEirM
— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) September 6, 2019
Journalist Saikat Datta went one step ahead, claiming that Dr Jitendra Nath Goswami has been declared an illegal immigrant, as his name is missing from final NRC.
— Saikat Datta (@saikatd) September 6, 2019
Trinamool Congress propagandist Garga Chatterjee declared that the advisor has been made non-citizen by anti-Bengali NRC.
Latest target of Anti-Bengali #NRC by BJP. Family of Dr. Jitendranath Goswami, scientific advisor to #Chandrayaan2 project made non citizens by Hindi Imperialist BJP. #Chandrayaan2Live #Chandrayaan2Landing #Chandrayan2 #Chandrayaan2theMoon
— Garga Chatterjee (@GargaC) September 6, 2019
Such messages were posted by many users on Twitter, who wanted to spread the message that even an ISRO advisor was not spared by the evil NRC, by quoting the NENow story. But all of the chose to deliberately ignore the details mentioned in the story.
According the report they are quoting, Goswamy told the media house, “We have been living in Ahmedabad for last 20 years. Perhaps we failed to do whatever was required for inclusion of our names in the NRC”. He also said that “we live in Ahmedabad and have voting rights in Ahmedabad. Since I have no plans to go back to Assam, I don’t think it will matter much”.
This quotes by Goswami himself shows how journalists are spreading misleading information. The National Register of Citizens is only applicable for residents of Assam, it is not yet applicable in rest of India. And for someone’s name to be included in it, they were required to complete certain formalities and documentation. Now Dr Goswami himself has said that he is living in Ahmedabad for 20 years, he is a voter in that city, and he has no plan to return to Assam. Therefore, he didn’t do what was required for inclusion of their names in NRC.
Jitendra Nath Goswami is the brother of Hitendra Nath Goswami, the speaker of the Assam Assembly. He has also informed media that his scientist brother did not apply for inclusion of his and his family members names in the NRC. “He is now a permanent resident of Gujarat where he along with his family has voting rights. My brother didn’t apply for inclusion of his name in the NRC list. Actually, he didn’t show any interest to apply for the NRC,” Hitendra Nath Goswami was quoted in an India Today report. The report confirmed that Jitendra Nath Goswami had opted not to apply for inclusion of their names in the NRC list.
Just because Dr Goswami’s name is not in NRC, he is not declared illegal as Saikat Datta claims, because is not residing in Assam. By that logic, as names of every Indian outside Assam are excluded from NRC, all of them should be declared illegal immigrant, but that is not the case.
Like all other government identification documents like Aadhaar card, Passport etc, people in Assam needed to apply for NRC and complete the formalities. If one does not apply for the same, their name will not be there in the NRC, just like they will not be issued Aadhaar or Passport if they do not apply. This does not show any flaw in the process, it just means that the person was not interested in the process.
Before working as an advisor in the Chandrayaan II mission, Dr Jitendra Nath Goswami was the chief Chief Scientist of Chandrayaan-I, and was also the developer of this project. He is also associated with the Mangalyaan mission of ISRO. He had served as a director of Physical Research Laboratory situated at Ahmadabad, Gujarat from 2005 to 2014.
It is interesting to note that while journalists from mainland India are trying to focus on people excluded from NRC, even focusing on persons who deliberately excluded themselves, people in Assam, including all political parties, are criticising the NRC alleging that it includes too many illegal immigrants. The governments at state and the centre were aware that there were flaws in the NRC, and they had applied for re-verification of data and extension of NRC publication with the Supreme Court. But the apex court refused both, and therefore a flawed NRC was published. Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sharma has alleged that legacy data, based on which the NRC is prepared, was tampered with, which led to the inclusion of many illegal immigrants in the NRC.
Multiple FIRs have been lodged against Prateek Hajela, the Coordinator of Supreme Court-monitored NRC, alleging that he deliberately excluded “genuine Indians” from the list. Senior Congress leader and former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi also wrote to the Chief Justice of India, requesting to review the NRC. He has alleged that Prateek Hajela did not discharge his duty efficiently.