The final list of Assam's National Register of Citizens was released on August 31, 2019. At the stroke of 10 a.m., the NRC authority headed by the apex court-appointed State Coordinator Prateek Hajela released the final NRC on its official website and through its social media handles.
Here are the updates:
NRC a botched-up exercise: Mamata
Describing the National Register of Citizens in Assam as a “botched up exercise”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says that those who tried to extract political mileage out of it will have to answer the nation. She also said that the exercise was guided by “ulterior motive rather than good of society and larger interest of nation”.
AIDUF changes stand, thanks Supreme Court
In a shift of stand over updation of NRC in Assam, the AIUDF has thanked Supreme Court for taking the initiative to ascertain genuine citizens. The foreigners issue in the State has been festering for the last 40 years but no government was willing to resolve it. It was the Supreme Court which took the initiative of NRC updation to ascertain the genuine citizens, AIUDF spokesman and MLA Aminul Islam says.
Till now all Muslims in Assam were wrongly referred to as Bangladeshis. “But at least the NRC has helped to establish who is an Indian or a foreigner,” the AIDUF spokesman says.
“It will be premature to say whether we are satisfied or dissatisfied with the final NRC, but it is a step towards resolving the foreigners’ issue in Assam and this has been possible only due to the initiative of the Supreme Court,” he says.
All India United Democratic Front (AIDUF), which is led by Badruddin Ajmal, earlier alleged that some officers associated with NRC have been given verbal orders by different quarters to include names of people belonging to a particular religion and delete those belonging to another.
Many genuine Indian citizens dropped from NRC list: Congress
The Congress claims that many genuine Indian citizens were dropped from the final National Register of Citizens list irrespective of linguistic and religious lines. The principal opposition party announces it would provide all necessary support, including legal aid, to the Indians in their appeal in the Foreigners Tribunals.
“The AICC noted that there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to indicate that the 19,06,659 people, who have been excluded from the final NRC, included many genuine Indian citizens, cutting across linguistic and religious lines,” a party statement says.
The names of some members of a given family were included in the NRC, but one or two specific members of that family have been omitted despite submitting the same legacy data, it adds.
The AICC is committed to ensuring that no genuine Indian citizen remains excluded from the NRC and that the rights of such genuine citizens are protected in accordance with the laws of the land, the party asserts.
“The AICC is also committed to extending all possible help, including legal aid, to the genuine citizens who have been left out of the final NRC,” it adds.
Gorkhas’ body claims over 1 lakh community people excluded
The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha (BGP) has claimed that more than 1 lakh people belonging to the community have been excluded from Assam’s final NRC. The list otherwise is believed to comprise mostly Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims.
State BGP president Nityananda Upadhyay said the figure was arrived at by speaking to members of local units of the organisation across the State.
The BGP is one of the stakeholders in the cases related to NRC in the Supreme Court.
We appeal to the central and the State governments to prepare a national level NRC: Assam BJP chief
The BJP says they do not trust the updated National Register of Citizens, specifically prepared for Assam, and appealed to the central and the state governments to prepare a nationwide NRC.
BJP Assam President Ranjeet Kumar Dass says the final NRC contains very small figure of exclusions compared to officially stated figures earlier. “We do not trust this NRC... We are very unhappy... We appeal to the central and the State governments to prepare a national level NRC,” he adds.
Mr. Dass, addressing a press conference in Guwahati, says the party will keep a close watch on the process of appeal in the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) by the excluded persons and the judgements of the cases.
“If we see that FTs are delivering adverse judgements on the appeals by genuine Indian citizens, we will not wait for the entire 19 lakh cases to be disposed off. We will bring in legislation and make an act to protect them,” he asserts.
Man behind NRC stays away from media glare
Prateek Hajela, the officer tasked with supervising the gigantic NRC updation exercise in Assam, must be a relaxed man after the final National Register of Citizens was published on Saturday.
The 1995 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, appointed the NRC coordinator by the Supreme Court, was in the thick of things while navigating the choppy political waters of the state that was cleaved along communal and linguistic lines over the sensitive issue.
Mr. Hajela, who hails from Madhya Pradesh, had his share of bouquets and brickbats while he led a team of 52,000 officials that sifted through over six crore documents of 3.3 crore applicants, in one of the most complex exercise to validate the Indian citizenship of the residents of Assam.
Assam will provide legal support to Indian citizens left out of NRC
The Assam government Saturday claimed many genuine Indian citizens have been left out of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), but said they do not need to panic as they have option to appeal in the Foreigners Tribunal (FT).
Speaking to PTI , Assam Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, said the government will provide legal support to the Indian citizens not finding place in the NRC list.
“One thing is sure that many genuine Indians were left out of the NRC. However, they don’t need to panic and worry. They can appeal in the FTs,” Mr. Patowary said.
AGP dissatisfied with final NRC
The Asom Gana Parishad, a member of the ruling alliance in Assam, has expressed dissatisfaction over the final NRC, saying there is scope for its review in the Supreme Court, which supervised the updation process.
The number of exclusions appear to be “ridiculously small”, AGP president and State Agriculture Minister Atul Bora says.
The National Register of Citizens, which validates the Indian citizens of Assam, has been updated on the basis of Assam Accord’s clause of detecting, deleting and deporting foreigners but very few suspected illegal immigrants have been left out, he tells the media in Guwahati.
“We (AGP) are not at all happy about it (the exclusions). The figure of 19,06,657 exclusions in the final NRC is too less and we just cannot accept it ... There is scope for its review in the Supreme Court,” the AGP leader says.
Mr. Bora says, “The people of Assam had hoped for a free and fair NRC but it now seems that the very existence of the Assamese will be further threatened“.
Ex-Army officer excluded
Mohammad Sanaullah, a retired junior commissioned officer of the Army who spent a few days in a detention after being declared a foreigner, has been excluded from the NRC along with his two daughters and son.
His wife, however, however has been included in the final list.
Among more than a score of such families is that of Brigadier K.P. Lahiri, who received Veer Chakra for his exploits in the 1965 war and also played a key role in drawing up the strategies during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.
Some members of the family of Radha Krishna Saraswati, the first exporter of Assam silk a century ago, are also in the NRC-reject list.
AIUDF legislator out of NRC
A legislator of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has failed Assam’s citizenship test – for now.
Ananta Kumar Malo, the AIUDF’s representative from the South Abhayapuri Assembly constituency in western Assam, said he was surprised not to find his name in list of citizens. “My son is in the exclusion list too. This is very unfortunate," he said.
Ilias Ali, Congress MLA from Dalgaon, has made it to the NRC but his daughter has not.
Centre, State finding new ways to eject foreigners, says Himanta
Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the Centre and the State governments have been discussing new ways to eject foreigners after the “disappointment” with the NRC.
“I don’t think this is the final list. There are many more to come,” Mr. Sarma said, adding that efforts were on to explore ways to ferret out more foreigners from the State.
Mr. Sarma did not specify the measures being discussed, but one of the ways is believed to push the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to let the allegedly persecuted non-Muslims from India’s neighbourhood – Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan – be absorbed as citizens.
Unhappy with exclusion figure, AASU to move SC
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) said it is not happy with the exclusion figure in the final NRC and will appeal against it in the Supreme Court.
The AASU is a signatory to the Assam Accord, a 1985 document that provided for “detection, deletion and deportation” of illegal foreigners from Assam.
“We are not happy at all. It seems there were some deficiencies in the updatation process. We believe that it is an incomplete NRC. We will appeal to the Supreme Court to remove all the faults and descrepancies in this NRC,” AASU General Secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said.
Addressing a press conference, Mr. Gogoi said the final figure of exclusion did not reach near the figures officially announced by the authorities on various occasions.
Aadhaar to those who get entry in final NRC
Aadhaar cards will be issued to all those who were excluded in the draft NRC but could get entry in the final list.
This will happen as NRC authorities have taken biometric data from more than 36 lakh people who have claimed Indian citizenship after their exclusion from the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018.
However, those who may be excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) and can not prove their Indian citizenship after pursuing legal process will not be eligible for obtaining Aadhaar cards anywhere in the country as their biometrics will be flagged.
“The biometric data taken during the process of claims of the NRC will ensure that those who are in the final NRC will get Aadhaar and those who could not prove their Indian citizenship will not get it anywhere in the country,” a senior home ministry official said.
Assam govt will take up the cause of people left out in the NRC list: CM
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday said that the State government will take up the cause of those excluded from the final NRC and ensure that nobody is subjected to any “unnecessary harassment“.
As long as the appellant’s plea remains sub-judice with the Foreigner’s Tribunal, he or she cannot be treated as a foreigner, the chief minister said in a statement.
He, therefore, appealed to the people of the State belonging to Barak, Brahmaputra, hills and plains to maintain peace and tranquility and set an example of a matured society.
Mr. Sonowal further assured that those whose names have been excluded from the NRC will get an opportunity to file their appeal and be heard in the Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) as per the direction of the Union Home Ministry.
What next for those excluded in NRC?
Those excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on August 31 will get a window of up to 10 months to prove their citizenship before being sent to detention centres.
the Centre had in June decided to help Assam create e-Foreigners’ Tribunals and increase the number of Foreigners’ Tribunals – quasi-judicial establishments headed by members who are lawyers and retired judges and bureaucrats – from the existing 100 to 1,000.
At least 200 of the additional Foreigners’ Tribunals are expected to be set up by September with the government already having appointed 221 new members.
Each person excluded will have a maximum of 120 days or four months from the date of publication of the final NRC to challenge his or her case at a Foreigners’ Tribunal, which has to dispose of the case within six months.
Paralegals trained to help NRC-excluded
Some 100 paralegals in Assam have been trained to help defend the citizenship of people whose names will be excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The three-day training was organised last week by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a non-governmental organisation, in Guwahati to “navigate the complex issue of citizenship after the publication of the list”
According to CJP’s Zamsher Ali, printed and electronic training manuals will be prepared to ensure that basic and competent approaches by village and district-level legal practitioners and paralegals do not falter in the appeal-filing process for lack of depth and competence.
No one will be declared a foreigner immediately, says MHA official
The Ministry of Home Affairs has assured that those excluded in the final list will not be immediately sent to dentition centres and they can appeal.
"Those excluded could move Foreigners Tribunals, [there is] 120 days window to appeal," an MHA official told The Hindu .
"No one will be declared a foreigner immediately, no one will be sent to detention centres," he assured.
Guide to check names in final list published
The office of the State Coordinator for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on Wednesday published a guide for checking one’s name in the final list to be published on August 31.
The links will be available on NRC website ( www.nrcassam.nic.in ) from August 31 titled ‘Supplementary list of inclusions/exclusions status (final NRC), the authority dealing with the exercise to update the citizens’ list said.
The public could also check their status online by typing their Application Receipt Numbers or ARNs.
Over 19 lakh excluded from Assam’s final NRC
More than 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were left out of the final National Register of Citizens. State Home Department officials said though the NRC was called ‘final’, the 19,06,657 people excluded would have opportunities to be back on the citizens’ list if they appeal against their exclusion and establish their citizenship via courts.
A total of 3,11,21,004 persons found eligible for inclusion in final NRC list.
Expect peace after NRC release, says Assam DGP
The Assam Police have dispelled “apprehensions” about the deterioration of law and order in the State after the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) on Saturday.
But it said 218 companies of Central paramilitary forces, besides the State police have been deployed following a security assessment by the district police chiefs.
“The situation is absolutely normal and under control. We expect people to cooperate and show restraint similar to the period after the publication of the first two drafts of the NRC (in December 2017 and July 2018),” Director-General of Police Kuladhar Saikia said at the police headquarters in Guwahati on Friday. “We have taken various measures such as holding meetings with civil society organisations, panchayat leaders and village defence forces. But troublemakers will be dealt with firmly.”
The government has, meanwhile, imposed Section 144 in Guwahati and other urban centres.
Assam NRC exercise: A timeline
Assam had published the first NRC in 1951. Alleged large-scale illegal immigration from East Pakistan (1947-1971) and Bangladesh since 1971 led to the anti-foreigners’ agitation in 1979 and the signing of the Assam Accord that sought the updating of the 1951 register.
The Centre took the first formal decision to update the NRC in 1999 and a resolution to undertake the exercise was adopted in 2005 in the presence of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
But the push came after Assam Public Works, an NGO, filed a case in the Supreme Court in 2009 claiming 41 lakh foreigners were included in the State’s electoral rolls and sought an updated NRC. A pilot project was launched the following year in Barpeta in western Assam and Chhaygaon near Guwahati.
The Chhaygaon project was successful but violence marred the Barpeta project. It was abandoned after four people – all migrant Muslims – were killed in police firing.
The Supreme Court intervened to have the NRC exercise started in 2013. Of a total of 3.29 crore applicants, 2.9 crore were incorporated in two phases – the first on December 31, 2017, and the second on July 30, 2018.
This left out 40.07 lakh people from the complete draft. Another 1.02 lakh people were excluded from the 2.9 crore who had made it to the complete draft, taking the total of NRC-excluded people to 41,10,169.
Anxious Assam readies for headcount results
Five years, four deferred deadlines and ₹1,220 crore later, the outcome of one of India’s largest headcount exercises – the Supreme Court-monitored National Register of Citizens (NRC) of Assam – is scheduled to be published on Saturday.
The State has been anxiously awaiting the final NRC that is envisaged to quantify the number of illegal immigrants, a decades-old political issue, and filter them out from the genuine Indian citizens.
The anxiety surrounds the number of people likely to be excluded from the 3.29 crore applicants. More than 41 lakh people were excluded from the draft NRC in two phases, of whom 3.61 lakh did not re-apply for inclusion.
The unease is more among people of Bengal origin, both Hindus and Muslims. While international organisations and rights groups have panned the State machinery of targeting migrant Muslims, State Home Department officials said the exclusion list could have more Hindus.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said certain forces have been carrying out propaganda against the NRC. “The NRC exercise under the supervision of the apex court will soon reach a conclusion, and I am sure everything will be peaceful. I want to assure those who will be left out that they should not worry. The government will provide help [in filing appeals], and if there is any issue, they can get in touch through the district administration,” he said in a statement.