Final NRC list will be released tomorrow: Details here
The northeastern state of Assam is gearing up for a tectonic change, as the final list of National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be released tomorrow, August 31. The preparation of the list, which aims at disenfranchising illegal immigrants, took months. Once the list is out, many will be declared "foreigners" and this has led to palpable fear among locals. Here's more.
First things first: What is NRC?
Essentially, the NRC is a list containing names of Indian citizens. It was created in 1951 and is being updated for the first time. For a person to be included in the list, he/she is mandated to prove links with family members having their name in the original list, or in electoral rolls till March 25, 1971. The NRC draft was published last year.
In "final" draft, names of 40 lakh people were excluded
In July 2018, authorities published the complete draft wherein names of 40 lakh people were not included. These people had the option of re-filing their documents at NRC Seva Kendras to support their claim of being Indian citizens. Though the NRC process started in the Congress regime, it gained momentum after BJP came to power. But the Supreme Court had to intervene, nevertheless.
Do you know SC directed authorities to complete process?
The entire NRC process is being monitored by the top court, which has been lenient with deadlines. Last month, Centre told in Parliament it wanted a "fair process". But SC, hinting that it has had enough of the delay, refused to entertain the plea of Centre and Assam government seeking re-opening of the verification process and ordered authorities to adhere to the August deadline.
Fear of detention centers has given many sleepless night
Now, immigration is a sensitive topic in Assam, the state bordering Bangladesh, as it has witnessed a spate of violent incidents in the past. Those whose names were excluded in the final draft are staring at uncertainty with the dread of being lodged at detention camps, giving them sleepless nights. Currently, there are six detention camps in Assam, and more have been requisitioned.
An "illegal" foreigner can't be detained for more than three-years
In Goalpara, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Silchar, Kokrajhar, and Tezpur, district jails were converted to camps, and similar model will be followed in Barpeta, Dima Hasao, Kamrup, Karimganj, Lakhimpur, Nagaon, Nalbari, Shiv Sagar, and Sonitpur. Rules underline that a person can't be kept at detention centers for more than three years, following which they'll be released after recording biometrics. They'll also have to visit the police station every week.
Centre has "readied" Assam for NRC by deploying heavy troops
The Centre is, obviously, anticipating trouble after the release of the much-awaited list. And to deal with any untoward incident, 215 companies (21,500 troops) of Central Paramilitary Forces have been sent to Assam. Apart from this, the Centre also urged people to remain calm and not believe in rumors. The MHA issued a five-point advisory to quell all doubts of the citizens.
Those excluded from NRC will get a chance to appeal
MHA has underlined that those excluded from the NRC list will not be "declared foreigners" spontaneously. "Every individual left out from final NRC can appeal to Foreigners Tribunals, an increased number of which are being established," the MHA said. Individuals will have 120 days to make an appeal, the ministry headed by Amit Shah added. Further, MHA promised to provide legal aid to needy.
Number of FTs will be increased: MHA
DO NOT BELIEVE RUMOURS ABOUT NRC.— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) August 29, 2019
Non-inclusion of a person's name in NRC does NOT amount to his/her being declared a foreigner.
Every individual left out from final NRC can can appeal to Foreigners Tribunals, an increased number of which are being established. pic.twitter.com/8pzNlFV5Ok
Interestingly, BJP also has some doubts about NRC list
Meanwhile, major political parties, including BJP, Congress and All India United Democratic Front, are worried that the final NRC list might exclude genuine Indians and give a place to illegal immigrants instead. But All Assam Students' Union (AASU), whose petition in SC led to the process, said, they have faith that the process would be fair as the apex court is looking into it.