India can’t be the refugee capital of the world: Centre tells Supreme Court on NRC controversy

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The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that India could not be the refugee capital of the world as it sought an extension in the 31 July deadline on the finalisation of the NRC list in Assam.

Supreme Court
(Reuters file photo)

Appearing before the top court, Solicitar General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman that there had been a lot of wrongful inclusions and exclusions. He said that a sample re-verification of at least 20% of the inclusions of persons residing in Assam districts bordering Bangladesh was required.

“India cannot be refugee capital of the world. But a relook at the process by sample verification is required”, Mehta was quoted by the Barandbench website.

On the other hand, NRC State Coordinator Prateek Haleja, according to the Livelaw website, informed the top court that nearly 80 lakh people were subjected to re-verification, amounting to nearly 27% of the total claims. The court fixed the next date of hearing to 23 July as it asked Mehta to reply to the report submitted by the NRC coordinator.

More than two dozen people, all Muslims, have committed suicide after finding their names in the list of illegal immigrants. The topic had become hugely controversial last month after a Kargil war veteran Mohammad Sanaullah was arrested and sent to a detention centre for illegally living in India. He was released from the detention centre only after the Gauhati High Court intervened.

It had later emerged that an Assam Police officer had forged the witness statements and signatures to have the Kargil war hero declared as a foreigner. 

The harassment under the garb of the National Register of Citizens or NRC has already claimed the lives of 23 Muslims. In May this year, a 93-year-old Muslim in Assam had consumed poison to avoid the ‘shame’ of being declared a ‘foreigner’ in his own country.

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