The Assam government will establish 200 Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) for handling cases of people to be excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC). July 31 is the deadline for publishing the NRC.
These FTs would be in addition to the existing 100 and are part of the 1,000 that the Centre had decided to help Assam set up in view of the pressure anticipated in disposing of cases of people to be left out of the NRC.
Officials in the State’s Home and Political Department said the new FTs would be distributed among six districts. Kamrup (Metropolitan) district, which covers Guwahati and outskirts, would get 67 of these, followed by Nagaon with 39, Jorhat with 31, Bongaigaon with 22, Sonitpur with 21, and Cachar with 20.
“Apart from the cases of people left out of the NRC, the new FTs will deal with the regular cases of D-voters [doubtful voters],” a senior officer said.
Organisations representing Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims feel more FTs will bring more misery unless the tribunals are made fully judicial bodies. More than 80% of the 41.09 lakh people put in the two exclusion lists belong to these two groups.
Those left out, however, were provided windows to get back in the NRC after re-submitting admissible citizenship papers.
According to the All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU), the FTs and the border wing of the Assam Police “are foreigner-producing factories”. The border wing picks suspected foreigners and refers their cases to the FTs.