Assam NRC: The government said those left out can file appeals against the NRC list
- National Register of Citizens updated for first time since 1951
- It will account for illegal migration into Assam from Bangladesh
- Claims, objections from those left out will be taken up from August 30
Around 40 lakh people in Assam have been left out of a draft list of citizens released today, and face deportation if they cannot prove their citizenship. The state's National Register of Citizens or NRC has been updated for the first time since 1951 to account for illegal migration from neighbouring Bangladesh. Releasing the updated list, officials underscored that no one would be deported or arrested as this is only a draft. The recount is seen by critics as a move to target Assam's Muslim population on the pretext of weeding out Bangladeshi migrants. Thousands of central forces are in the state to prevent any unrest over the new list. "Some people are unnecessarily trying to create an atmosphere of fear... This is a draft and not the final list," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
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"Based on this draft no reference case will be sent to the foreigner tribunal or put in a detention centre," said Satyendra Garg, home ministry officer in charge of the northeast. In a statement, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has asked people to refrain from making "inflammatory" remarks.
Of 3.29 crore people who had applied for their names to be included, 2.89 crore have made it to the revised citizen's list. The rest face the prospect of being declared illegal and sent out unless they can satisfy the doubts of the authorities.
Claims and objections from those left out of the citizen's list will be taken up from August 30 to September 28, said officials. "Adequate and ample scope will be given to people for making objections. No genuine Indian citizen should have any fear," said Registrar General of India, Sailesh.
It is not clear whether these 40 lakh will be eligible to vote in next year's national election. "The Election Commission will decide," said an official.
The register counts only those as Assam citizens who can prove that they were living in the state on or before March 21, 1971.
The list has been updated to include descendants of those in the state in 1951 -- when the first census took place -- or those who were in Assam's electoral rolls as of March 24, 1971.
The descendants of those who can prove citizenship till March 24, 1971, will also be considered Indian citizens. So will those who arrived between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971, and registered themselves with the Foreigners Registration Regional Officer.
The first draft of the NRC was published on January 1, with 1.9 crore names. Earlier this month, officials said there were anomalies in the documents of 1.5 lakh people, a third of them women.
The centre has sent around 23,000 paramilitary troops to Assam and neighbouring Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, to prevent any flare-up.
Applications for inclusion into the National Register for Citizens started in May 2015 and documents were received from around 68 lakh families across Assam.