An MLA from Assam's second-most powerful opposition party is among the 19 lakh people whose names have been left out of the National Register of Citizens or NRC that was published by the government on Saturday morning. Ananta Kumar Malo of the All India United Democratic Front found his name missing on the website.
Over 19 lakh people will have to prove their citizenship after their names were excluded from the crucial citizens' list, aimed at identifying legal residents and weed out illegal immigrants from Assam. 3.11 crore have been included in the list.
The centre has said people whose names don't appear in the NRC cannot be declared foreigners till all legal options are exhausted. Every person left out of the NRC can appeal to the Foreigners Tribunal, and the time limit to file the appeal has been extended from 60 to 120 days.
At least 1,000 tribunals will be set up in phases to hear disputes, the Home Ministry said. 100 tribunals are already open and 200 more will be set up in the first week of September. If one loses the case in the tribunal, one can approach the high court and then the Supreme Court. The Assam government has ruled out detention of people who do not figure in the list "in any circumstances" till the time Foreigners Tribunals declare them foreigners.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will hold a review meeting on the citizens' list at 3 pm.
The NRC has immense significance for the people of Assam as the state witnessed a six-year-long movement between 1979 to 1985 seeking detection and deportation of illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
This is the second such 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.
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