Assam NRC: Updated list of citizens leaves out 4 million "illegal immigrants"
31 July 2018
The updated version of the draft National Register of Citizens released by the Assam government leaves out 4 million people in the state, mostly migrants from Bangladesh, raising fears that these people may be deported.
The government said those left out can file appeals against the NRC list, and in any case, they do not face deportation.
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, both before and after the Bangladesh war of independence. While many have come as refugees, several others are illegal migrants.
Opposition parties, mainly the Congress, see this as an attack on their vote bank, nurtured over the years.
The government has deployed central forces 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," union home minister Rajnath Singh said.
"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.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has asked people to refrain from making "inflammatory" remarks.
Of 32.9 million people who had applied for their names to be included, 28.9 million 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 30 August to 28 September , 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 4 million 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 24 March 1971.