NRC wins consensus, but not Citizenship Bill

AGP has threatened to snap ties with BJP if the Centre grants citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis who have entered Assam illegally post-1971

Updated - November 28, 2021 08:35 am IST

Published - January 01, 2018 10:42 pm IST - Guwahati

Vital entry: A man looks for his name on the first draft of the National Register of Citizens in Guwahati on Monday.

Vital entry: A man looks for his name on the first draft of the National Register of Citizens in Guwahati on Monday.

There has been political consensus in Assam that an updated National Register of Citizens , as mandated by the Supreme Court, will help identification of Bangladeshi migrants, who are staying illegally in Assam after the midnight of March 24, 1971, and their expulsion in accordance with the Assam Accord. However, the actual number of illegal migrants in the State will not be known till the claims and objections of all those excluded in the final draft are settled by the NRC authorities.

Migration after marriage

The verification of the NRC for the subsequent draft will also decide on the applications from 29 lakh women, who have submitted certificates issued by Gaon (gram panchayat) secretaries and executive magistrates to support their claim of residency after migration post-marriage. The Supreme Court allowed these documents after setting aside an order of the Gauhati High Court which declared these documents “invalid” and “ineffective in the process of the verification of claims for inclusion in NRC”.


The Supreme court, however, clarified: “The certificate issued by the G.P. secretary, by no means, is proof of citizenship. Such proof will come only if the link between the claimant and the legacy person (who has to be a citizen) is established. The certificate has to be verified at two stages. The first is the authenticity of the certificate itself; and the second is the authenticity of the contents thereof. The latter process of verification is bound to be an exhaustive process in the course of which the source of information of the facts and all other details recorded in the certificate will be ascertained after giving an opportunity to the holder of the certificate.”

The publication of the first draft of the NRC came close on the heels of ruling coalition partner Asom Gana Parishad threatening to snap ties with the ruling BJP if the Centre pushed for passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that seeks to grant citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis, who have entered Assam illegally post-1971.

All Opposition parties, including the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front, and student and youth organisations have opposed identification of illegal migrants on the basis of religion. They have demanded withdrawal of the Bill on the ground that if made into an Act, it would render the updated NRC and the entire process of updating the citizenship register infructuous.

With the BJP pushing for passage of the Bill,the question of identification of foreigners in accordance with the Assam Accord may not be answered even after the final draft is published.

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