Over 1.9 million people have been left out of the final National Register of Citizens or NRC – a list intended to identify legal residents and weed out illegal immigrants from Assam. Those left out of the NRC can appeal to the Foreigners Tribunal within 120 days. After that those left out will be sent to Detention Centers! Are we going to create Nazi concentration camps in India? Millions of Indian citizens have emigrated from India and have become citizens of various countries around world. Why can’t India start a process to absorb the citizens left out of the NRC list? No country is going to absorb them. The lives of 1.9 million people lie in peril. India should give them citizenship. That’s the only ethical act that India can do if it claims to be the largest democracy in the world.
The National Register of Citizens is a register containing names of all genuine Indian citizens. The register was first prepared after the 1951 Census of India. The NRC updated in Assam to include the names of those persons (or their descendants) who appear in the NRC, 1951, or in any of the Electoral Rollsup to the midnight of 24 March 1971 or in any one of the other admissible documents issued up to mid-night of 24 March 1971, which would prove their presence in Assam or in any part of India on or before 24 March 1971.
The update process of NRC started in the year 2013, when the Supreme Court of India passed orders for its update. Since then, the Supreme Court (bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Rohintan Fali Nariman) have been monitoring it continuously.
The purpose of NRC update is to identify Indian citizens from amongst all the residents of Assam thereby leading to identification of illegal migrants residing in Assam, who entered Indian territories after the midnight of 24 March 1971 and to determine the citizenship of the applicants who have applied for inclusion of their names in the updated NRC.
Between 1948 and 1971, there were large scale migrations from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) to Assam. Given this continuing influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh into Assam, student leaders in 1979 came out in fierce protest demanding detention, disenfranchisement and deportation of illegal immigrants from Assam. Assam Accord was signed 15 August 1985. As per the Assam Accord, 1 January 1966 was determined to be the precise date based on which the detention and deletion of illegal immigrants from Assam will take place. It allowed citizenship for all persons coming to Assam from “Specified Territory” before the cut-off date. It further specifies that all persons who came to Assam prior to 1 January 1966 (inclusive) and up to 24 March 1971 (midnight) shall be detected in accordance with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1939. Name of foreigners so detected will be deleted from the Electoral Rolls in force. Such persons will be required to register themselves before the Registration Officers of the respective districts in accordance with the provisions of the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1939. Foreigners who came to Assam on or after 25 March 1971 shall continue to be detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law.
Eligibility Criteria was set as:
>> Persons whose names appear in NRC, 1972
>> Persons whose names appear in any of the Electoral Rolls up to 24 March (midnight), 1971.
>> Descendants of the above persons.
>> Persons who came to Assam on or after 1 January 1966 but before 25 March 1971 and registered themselves in accordance with the rules made by the Central Government with the Foreigners Registration Regional Officer (FRRO) and who have not been declared as illegal migrants or foreigners by the competent authority.
>> People who are original inhabitants of Assam and their children and descendants who are citizens of India provided their citizenship is ascertained beyond a reasonable doubt by the registering authority.
>> ‘D’ voters can apply for inclusion of their names in the updated NRC. However, their names will be finally included only when the appropriate Foreigner Tribunal declares them as non-foreigners.
>> Persons who can provide any one of the documents issued up to midnight of 24 March 1971 as mentioned in the list of documents admissible for citizenship.
All Indian Citizens including their children and descendants who have moved to Assam post 24 March 1971 would be eligible for inclusion in the updated NRC on adducing satisfactory proof of residence in any part of the country (outside Assam) as on 24 March 1971.
>> All members of the Tea Tribes shall be covered under ‘Original inhabitants of Assam’ category provided for under Clause 3(3) of the Schedule of The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
> All such original inhabitants shall be included on the basis of proof to the satisfaction of the Registering Authority. On the establishment of the citizenship of such persons beyond a reasonable doubt, their names shall be in the updated NRC.
In a country where the Prime Minister himself can not produce his degree certificate how is it possible to bring out documents from five decades back?
Presently, Assam has six detention camps that operate out of make-shift facilities in local prisons in Goalpara, Dhibrugarh, Silchar, Tezpur, Jorhat and Kokrajhar. The state is proposing to build 10 more detention centers to hold the additional persons excluded from the NRC.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has called for nation wide NRC update. On July 18 he told the upper house Rajya Sabha that the government will ensure that all illegal settlers in India are deported as per international law. The minister was replying to a supplementary query by Samajwadi Party member Javed Ali Khan on whether the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be implemented in other states as well. “Currently, the NRC is a part of Assam Accord. The Centre – as per its election manifesto – is dedicated to weaning out illegal immigrants from every inch of this country. We will make sure that all such immigrants are deported as per international law,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Indian Citizenship Amendment Bill was proposed in Lok Sabha on July 19, 2016, amending the Citizenship Act of 1955. If this Bill is passed in Parliament, illegal migrants from minority communities like Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan will then be eligible for Indian citizenship, excluding people from the Muslim community. The Bill relaxes the requirement of residence in India from 11 years to 6 years for these migrants. This makes it clear that this NRC update is an effort to persecute Muslim minorities residing in Assam.