Assam Races To Complete List Of Legal Residents As Concerns Linger

Thousands of state officials are racing against time to re-check documents submitted as proof of nationality by a mammoth 3.28 crore residents of Assam.

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Supreme Court deadline for first draft of National Register of Citizens is December 31. (Reuters)


Guwahati:  The countdown has begun in Assam to the publication of the first crucial draft of the National Register of Citizens or NRC, described as the world's largest exercise to identify legal citizens and those who may be staying illegally in the state. A review meeting has just been held between the centre and the state to ensure the Supreme Court deadline of December 31 for the first draft is met.

Thousands of state officials are racing against time to re-check documents submitted as proof of nationality by a mammoth 3.28 crore residents of Assam.

It is a delicate task. People are especially tense in 11 minority-dominated districts that they may be left out of the list by accident or error.

"In the reverification, most of the notices are coming in the name of children. These poor people don't have proper documents... they go elsewhere for work and there get targeted as Bangladeshis," said Tofail Ahmed, a villager from Goalpara, one of the Muslim-majority districts in Assam.

The last NRC update in Assam took place in 1951. It recorded 80 lakh legal Indians in the state. Since then, the process of identification of foreigners in Assam has been debated and become a contentious point in the state's politics.

Earlier this week, the Sarbananda Sonowal government held a review meeting with the union home secretary. For both centre and state, the priority is to ensure there are no flare ups after the draft NRC is published. Over 5,000 central security forces have been sent to Assam - since November.

"What is going to be published on 31st December is a part draft. A lot of work is pending. Those names would be pending need not mean rejected. So there will be another draft and after that people get the chance of raising claims and objections," said Rajiv Gauba, Union Home Secretary.


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