Guwahati: Assam NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela on Monday likened himself to Mahabharata's Arjun, who saw only the eye of the golden fish, in dealing with political pressure around the historic document.
In an exclusive interview to PTI, Hajela said he remained firm in discharging his "constitutional duty" under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court and did not recognise any pressure from "any other authority".
"I do not recognise the pressure that comes. It is like Mahabharata's Arjun, who saw only the eye of the fish," he said.
"I am doing a constitutional duty and I am doing it under the order of the Supreme Court. When I am firm that I am doing a constitutional duty, no amount of interference from any other authority makes any impact on me," Hajela added.
Hajela evaded a direct reply when asked specifically about facing any pressure from the erstwhile Congress government in the north-eastern state after it filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, saying that all the names that appeared in the state's voters' list till 2014 should be considered for inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
"There may have been an affidavit filed by the government, but I was working under Supreme Court orders. For me, I do not recognise any amount of pressure from any quarter," he said.
The senior bureaucrat also dismissed the reported pressure on him by the current BJP-led Assam government as "speculation".
"That's all speculation. I do not recognise any such pressure. I am focussed. When I am doing a constitutional duty, that's the only thing that I recognise," he reiterated.
Hajela, however, said he had consulted all the political parties and took into account their criticism for the betterment of the system.
"I have been in touch with all the stakeholders, which include all the political organisations. I have been interacting with them and taking their feedback, and ensuring that the incorrect apprehensions are removed," he added.
The NRC officials viewed the criticism "as a point of view to improve our system, purify it rather", Hajela said, adding, "That is how we are going about it."
As many as 2,89,83,677 people of a total of 3,29,91,384 applicants were found to be eligible for inclusion in the complete draft of the NRC, which was published in Assam on July 30, thereby excluding the names of 40,07,707 people.