The Assam government will provide legal aid to those who will be excluded from the state's National Register for Citizens (NRC), Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on Friday, ahead of the final publication of the list on August 31. Referring to the centre's notice that said no person would be treated as a foreigner until the Foreigners Tribunal declares so, he promised that ample opportunities will be provided to the people to prove their nationality.
"Tomorrow, as per the directions of the honourable Supreme Court, the NRC, which has been updated by the state NRC Coordinator, will be published. I am thankful for the cooperation extended by the people of Assam," Mr Sonowal said on Twitter.
"After the publication of the list, the excluded persons should not be worried. In this regard, the Home Ministry has notified that those excluded will get ample opportunity at the FT (foreigners tribunal) court. The time limit to appeal has been increased from 60 to 120 days. As long as an appeal is there, no one will be treated as a foreigner. Because the authority to declare a person foreigner lies only with the foreigners tribunal," he said.
"There is no need to panic. The people will be taken care of. We will provide legal assistance to those who need it," he added.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC), first published in Assam in 1951, is being updated as per directions of the Supreme Court to segregate Indian citizens living in Assam from those who have illegally entered the state from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971. The draft list published last year had excluded around 41 lakh people.
The centre has said that at least 1,000 tribunals will be set up in phases to hear the disputed cases.
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