Assam NRC data goes offline, Government says 'technical issue'
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday cited "technical issues" after the data on Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC) disappeared from its official website. PTI reported Tuesday that the NRC data had gone offline from the official website over the non-renewal of a contract with the IT firm Wipro. Meanwhile, the Opposition raised doubts that this was a "malafide act."
Contract for Wipro's cloud storage expired in October
The NRC data was reportedly uploaded to www.nrcassam.nic.in through cloud storage provided by Wipro. However, the contract with Wipro expired on October 19 last year. The complete data on the exclusion and inclusion of bonafide Indian citizens in the NRC list was made available online as mandated by the Supreme Court after the list was published on August 31, 2019.
'Contract not renewed by previous NRC Coordinator'
NRC State Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma told PTI, "The cloud service for the huge set of data was provided by Wipro and their contract was till October 19 last year." Dodging accountability, he added, "However, this was not renewed by the earlier Coordinator. So, the data got offline from December 15 after it was suspended by Wipro. I assumed charge on December 24."
Hopefully, data will be accessible in 2-3 days: Sarma
Sarma also told PTI that the state coordination committee decided to complete the necessary formalities during a meeting on January 30, adding that the data will be visible in a few days. He said, "Once Wipro makes the data live, it will be available for the public. We hope that people will be able to access it in the next 2-3 days."
NRC data safe; technical issues in visibility on cloud: MHA
According to ANI, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also said that the NRC data is "safe" adding that the issue will be resolved soon. The Ministry also blamed "some technical issue in visibility on cloud" over the data's disappearance.
NRC list excluded 19 lakh people in Assam
The NRC is a register to enumerate bonafide Indian citizens. In Assam, the NRC excluded 19 lakh people out of 3.30 crore applicants. The people excluded from the list, however, will not be declared "foreigners" until all legal options for them to establish citizenship are exhausted. The data's disappearance has now created panic since rejection certificates for those excluded are yet to be issued.
Sarma replaced former NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela last year
Notably, the former NRC State Coordinator, Prateek Hajela, had overseen the exercise in Assam. Hajela was transferred in November and Sarma was appointed in his place the same month. However, Sarma did not take office until December.
Deliberate violation of Supreme Court directives: Opposition
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, wrote to the Registrar General of India, urging him to look into the matter. Saikia wrote, "Indeed, the deletion of data from the NRC website at a time when the appeals process is yet to start, is prima facie a deliberate violation of the directive issued by the Hon'ble Supreme Court."
Saikia alleges malafide intent; Sarma refutes claims
Saikia added, "There is, therefore, ample scope to suspect that the disappearance of online data is a malafide act." However, speaking to PTI, Sarma refuted the allegations of any malafide intent in the disappearance of data.