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Published On: Sat, Aug 31st, 2019

NRC list released,19 lakh people facing statelessness in Assam

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Assam-NRC-final-list-1908310631NEW DELHI / GUWAHATI : Over 19 lakh people in Assam have been left facing statelessness after exclusion from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list, while 3.11 crore applicants were included in the roster.
“A total of 3,11,21,004 persons found eligible for inclusion in final NRC, leaving out 19,06,657 persons, including those who did not submit their claims. Those not satisfied with outcome can file appeal before Foreigners Tribunals,” Prateek Hajela, State Coordinator of NRC, said.
According to Media reports say that there have been more than 40 cases of suicide caused by concern over the NRC. Samujjal Bhattacharya from the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), a key driver behind the NRC, said the register was necessary to protect Assam’s indigenous “sons of the soil”. “We are not ready to live here like a second-class citizens in our own motherland,” he said.

While the entire final NRC list has been uploaded on nrcassam.nic.in, hard copies of the Supplementary List of Inclusions are available for public viewing at the NRC Seva Kendras (NSK). The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Assam Public Works (APW) have said they’ll move the Supreme Court over the final exclusion figure.
3.11 crore have been included in the crucial citizens’ list. This is the second citizens’ list published in the country after 1951. Coming just weeks after the government ended Jammu and Kashmir’s decades-old special status, the NRC too is expected to go down as one of the biggest moves in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term.

Any person who is not satisfied with the outcome can file appeal before the Foreigners Tribunals within 120 days. Assam government has earlier said those left out of the NRC will not be detained under any circumstances until the Foreigners Tribunals declare them as foreigners.
Given the political sensitivity of the issue, there is tight security across Assam and a ban in place on assembly of more than four people in some public places considered sensitive. The publication of the final NRC list is likely to stir up a huge gamut of reactions involving the large number of stakeholders.
The names of 1.9 crore people were published as Part Draft NRC on the midnight of December 31, 2017. In July 30 last year, the Complete Draft was released excluding over 40 lakh of 2.9 crore people. An additional 1,02,462 people were excluded in June this year, taking the total ineligible persons to 41,10,169.

The process of updating NRC started in the state following an order of the Supreme Court in 2013. Since then, the Apex Court has been closely monitoring the entire process. Assam, which has faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC which was first prepared in 1951. It is for the first time since then that the NRC was updated.

For decades this has made Assam a hotbed of inter-religious and ethnic tensions. Sporadic violence has included the 1983 massacre of around 2,000 people. This has led to pressure from those who see themselves as genuine Assamese for a lasting solution — which they hope will come from the NRC released on Saturday. Only those who can demonstrate that they or their forebears were in India before 1971 could be included in the list. But navigating the complex process is a huge challenge for many in a region of high illiteracy where many lack documentation.
In January, the Lok Sabha passed a legislation which grants citizenship to people who moved to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan as recently as six years ago — as long as they are not Muslims. This has stoked fears among India’s 170-million Muslim minority for their future.
Those left off the NRC have 120 days to appeal at special Foreigners Tribunals, which the government says are being expanded in number. But critics say that tribunal members can be underqualified and are subject to “performance” targets, and that the entire process has been riddled with inconsistencies and errors.

The number of errors has also turned some in the BJP in Assam against the process, with Himanta Biswa Sarma, a BJP minister in the state, saying it had left off “so many genuine Indians”. “We have lost hope in the present form of the NRC,” Sarma told reporters, saying that the party was already mulling a “fresh strategy on how we can drive out the illegal migrants”.
Those who have been rejected by the tribunals and have exhausted all other legal avenues can be declared foreigners and — in theory — be placed in one of six detention centres with a view to possible deportation, although Bangladesh is yet to signal its cooperation.( With Agency Inputs ).

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