Guwahati, Aug 31, 2019 –
Over 19 lakh people in Assam were left out of the much-awaited final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) released on a rain-soaked Saturday morning amid heightened security.
Some 19,06,657 people have been excluded from the final list, which names 3,11,21,004 people as Indian citizens, the NRC authorities announced.
The Union Home Ministry said the 19,06,657 people left out had not submitted their claims.
The citizens’ registry was released online around 10 a.m., ending six years of speculation over the mammoth exercise involving 52,000 state government officials working on it for identifying illegal foreigners living in Assam.
In the run up to Saturday, prohibitory orders were issued banning assembly of more than four people in some public places, 14 districts were declared sensitive areas, and Assam police personnel, 218 companies of additional forces, were deployed in the state to prevent any breach of peace.
The NRC has immense significance for the people of the north eastern state which witnessed a six-year-long movement from 1979 to 1985 seeking detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshis.
The movement finally led to signing of the Assam Accord of 1985 by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and the leaders of the agitation belonging to the All Assam Students Union and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad.
The NRC updation process, which started in the state on orders of the Supreme Court in 2013, is being carried out by the Registrar General of India and is being monitored by the apex court.
The process of NRC update in Assam differs from the rest of the country and is governed by Rule 4A and the corresponding Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
“These rules have been framed as per the cut-off date of March 24 (midnight), 1971 decided as per the Assam Accord.. The process of receipt of NRC application forms started at the end of May 2015 and ended on August 31, 2015. A total of 3,30,27,661 people applied for it through 68,37,660 applications,” said the statement issued by the NRC authorities.
“The particulars submitted by the applicants were taken up for scrutiny to determine eligibility of their inclusion in the NRC… The entire process has been meticulously carried out in an objective and transparent manner,” it said.
“The draft NRC published on July 30 last year found 2,89,83,677 persons eligible for inclusion in the list.
Thereafter, 36,26,630 people staked claims against their exclusion, and a verification was also carried out of the persons included in the Draft NRC under Clause 4(3) of the Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003,” it said.
“Objections were received against inclusion of 1,87,633 persons, whose names had appeared in the Complete Draft. Another Additional Draft Exclusions List, which was published on June 26, 2019, had 1,02,462 names,” the NRC said.
“Taking into account all the persons already included and after disposal of all the claims and objections and proceedings under Clause 4(3), it has been found that a total of 3,11,21,004 persons are eligible for inclusion in the Final NRC leaving out 19,06,657 persons, including those who did not submit their claims,” said the statement.
The government has assured that the people left out of the Final NRC will not be detained and they can appal against their exclusion in the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT) and subsequently move higher courts.
“These people can first approach the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT) and subsequently move to higher courts if not satisfied with the FT ruling,” said Kumar Sanjay Krishna, Additional Chief Secretary (Home & Political).
The Assam government will establish 400 Foreigners’ Tribunals in the state to deal with such appeals.
Krishna said the process is already on to set up 200 such tribunals and 200 more will be set up soon for the benefit of the excluded people.
The Foreigners’ Tribunals are quasi judicial courts mandated to hear appeals of those excluded from the NRC.
Krishna said legal aid will also be made available to those excluded from the Final NRC through the District Legal Services Authorities (DLSA).
On Saturday morning, hard copies of the supplementary list of inclusions were available for public view at NRC Seva Kendras (NSK), offices of the Deputy Commissioner and offices of the Circle Officer during office hours.
The status of both inclusion and exclusion were on view on the NRC website (www.nrcassam.nic.in), which, however, crashed within a few minutes of the publication of the list apparently due to heavy traffic with an error message saying, “The site cannot be reached”. It resumed work soon.
However, the BJP, which had been clamouring for the NRC for years, was far from happy.
Fearing exclusion of a large number of Hindus, the saffron party’s man in the northeast Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday he had lost all hope in the present form of the NRC.”as so many genune Indians are out” of the document.
“The NRC is no quarter-final, semi-final and final for driving out Bangladeshis. Wait for a while and you will see more finals under the BJP regime,” he said.
He also pointed out that while border districts like South Salmara and Dhubri saw six-seven per cent deletions of names, in tribal-dominated Karbi Anglong the exclusions were as high as 16 per cent. (Agency)