NRC list for Assam released; Fear looms as 19 lakh people face exclusion

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NRC (National Register of Citizens) for Assam has been published at 10 am today. The final list excludes over 19 lakh people, while a total of 3.11 crore names have been included in the list.

Allaying the fears of commoners, Prateek Hajela, State Coordinator of NRC has told that those excluded can appeal before Foreigners Tribunals to register their grievances. These tribunals, with the power vested in them under the provisions of Foreigners Act 1946 and Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964 can declare any individual as “foreigner”.

The situation in Assam is very sensitive and delicate, due to which the security stock has been beefed up. Section 144 barring assembly of more than four people has also been imposed at various locations in Assam. However, people can be seen moving in huge numbers to the NRC Seva Kendras.

Previously, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has called upon people of the state to maintain peace. He also participated in a meeting chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah over the publication of NRC list. After the meeting, he apprised everyone that the Home Minister is very much helpful in giving his support to people of Assam.

How to access the List?

The list is available both in offline and online mode. NRC Seva Kendras (NSK) will be having the hard copies of the Supplementary List of Inclusions for the public. The list is also available at the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and offices of the Circle Officer during office hours.

Also, the NRC publication list can be accessed at nrcassam.nic.in.

What after NRC list?

Those excluded from the NRC list will not be automatically considered as ‘foreigners’. It has been made clear by the Home Ministry that only a foreigners tribunal, a quasi-judicial body especially will give the final verdict on someone’s citizenship. The additional window of 120 days has been given to such people.

All Assam Minorities Students’ Union has expressed fear over the latest list as it said that many genuine Indians can be left out due to some clerical errors. Congress Party is also expected to hold a meeting regarding NRC shortly.

The Assam Accord to NRC : Timeline through the years (1951 – 2019)

  • 1951 : First-ever National Register of Citizens (NRC) of India published
  • 1979 : Anti-foreigners’ movement started in Assam
  • January 1980 : All Assam Students Union (AASU) submitted the first memorandum demanding updating of NRC
  • August 14, 1985 : Historic Assam Accord was signed
  • 1990 : AASU submitted modalities to update NRC to Centre as well state government
  • 1999 : Centre took the first formal decision to update the NRC as per the Assam Accord
  • May 2005: The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a tripartite meeting between the Centre, Assam government and the AASU where an understanding was reached that steps must be taken towards updating the NRC to fulfil the promises made in the Assam Accord. The modalities for this were approved by the Centre in consultation with the Assam government.
  • July 2009: An NGO called Assam Public Works moved the Supreme Court pleading that the names of those migrants who have not been documented should be removed from the voters’ list. The NGO requested the court that the process to update the NRC should be started. This is the first instance how the NRC matter reached the Supreme Court.
  • August 2013: The petition filed by Assam Public Works came up for hearing.
  • December 2013: The Supreme Court directed that the exercise to update NRC should start.
  • February 2015: Though the Supreme Court had ordered updating the NRC in 2013 to identify bonafide citizens and weed out illegal immigrants, the actual exercise began in February 2015.
  • December 31, 2015: Deadline set by the Supreme Court to publish the NRC was missed and since then the apex court has been constantly monitoring the update
  • December 31, 2017: The government published the first draft of the NRC.
  • July 30, 2018: Assam government releases second NRC draft. Of the 3.29 crore who applied, 2.89 crore were declared genuine citizens. The draft NRC excluded over 40 lakh people.
  • August 1, 2018 : The Supreme Court ruled that the Assam NRC was only a draft, and hence it cannot be the the basis of any action by any authority against anyone. The Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat clarified that the electoral roll is governed by a separate law and exclusion from the final NRC would not mean “automatic removal” from Assam’s voters’ list.
  • August 17, 2018: The Supreme Court asked the Assam NRC coordinator to submit the data of district-wise percentage of the population excluded from the NRC draft in the state.
  • September 5, 2018 : The Supreme court had ordered that any one of the 10 of a total 15 documents provided in List-A of the NRC claim form can be used by the claimants to prove legacy.
  • December 31, 2018: This was the deadline for the government to release the final version of NRC. However, the deadline could not be met.
  • June 26, 2019: An additional draft on exclusion list was published. This list had 1,02,462 names, taking the total number of those left out to 41,10,169.
  • July 31, 2019: The government was supposed to release the final version of the NRC. It could not and the deadline was extended by a month.
  • August 31, 2019: The government released the final version of the NRC, with over 9 lakh people in Assam left out from the list.

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