Panic has gripped Assam as the controversial NRC website went live on Saturday with the fate of over 4 million people living in the state remaining uncertain.
The government has imposed Section 144 Cr PC prohibiting an assembly of more than five persons, any agitation, demonstration or procession inciting communal violence, carrying of firearms, ammunition, explosive substances or weapons in public places or vehicles, as well as the use of loudspeakers, reported PTI.
Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday asked people not to panic and said the state government will take all possible steps to help genuine Indians prove their citizenship and provide legal assistance.
“No one should be worried. No one should panic. Government is here to take care of everyone. Even those who will be excluded from final list will get enough opportunity to prove their Indian citizenship,” he was quoted by the news agency.
— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) August 30, 2019
Many of those people whose names have been excluded from the NRC list argue that they are genuine residents of India. The draft list also excluded two soldiers. It first gained media attention when a Kargil war hero Mohammad Sanaullah found his name excluded from the list and was arrested. It took the intervention of the Gauhati High Court for him to come out on bail. In another development, another BSF soldier Muzibur Rahman too was declared an illegal immigrant even as he guarded India’s border in Punjab.
Such gaffes causing public shame to individuals have led to many taking their lives.
There are reports that Assam has historically seen the influx of a large number of illegal immigrants particularly from Bangladesh with both Hindus and Muslims settling here. The issue gained considerable momentum in the 80s when the All Assam Students Union launched an agitation lasting six years. The Indian government headed by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi signed an accord with the AASU in 1985 to end their 6-year-long agitation.
Three of the major demands put forward by the AASU had included identification, detention and deportation of illegal immigrants.
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 after the BJP came to power at the Centre.
The part publication of draft NRC was done on the midnight of 31 December, 2017, and the complete draft was published on 30 July, 2018. A total of 2,89,83,677 people out of 3,29,91,384 applicants were found eligible for inclusion in the register. On 26 June, 2019, the NRC authority published an additional draft exclusion list consisting of 1,02,462 persons, taking the number of those left out to 41,10,169 in the complete draft.
The NRC, according to news agency PTI, is unique to Assam and was first published in 1951, and the exercise is being monitored by the Supreme Court. March 24, 1971, is the cut-off date for making a legitimate claim to Indian citizenship.
Here are live updates on the NRC:
- Assam Min HB Sarma on over 19 lakh people left out from #NRCassam: No. should’ve been a little more as we had evidence of Legacy Data manipulation. We thought re-verification will be ordered. But it didn’t happen. I think the number is a bit conservative, it should have been more (ANI)
- Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM: Many people in Assam have told me that the parents’ names are included, but names of their children are excluded. For example, Mohammad Sanaullah, he has served in the Army. His case is pending in High Court. I am sure that he will also get justice. #NRCList (ANI)
- Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM: I have my own doubts that the BJP through Citizen Amendment Bill can bring a bill wherein they can try to give citizenship to all non-Muslims, which will again be a violation of Right to Equality. (ANI)
- Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM on #NRCList: BJP should learn a lesson. They should stop asking for NRC throughout the country in terms of Hindus & Muslims. They should learn from what has happened in Assam. The so-called myth of illegal migrants has been busted. (ANI)
Retired Army Officer Mohammad Sanaullah on his name missing from #NRCFinalList: I was not expecting my name to be in the list as my case is still pending in the High Court, I have full faith in the judiciary and I'm confident that I will get justice. #Assam pic.twitter.com/tdnxJoQbg3
— ANI (@ANI) August 31, 2019
- Abdul Khaleque, Assam Congress MP on final #NRCList: I congratulate NRC State Coordinator,& SC for publishing the final list. However, I’m not fully satisfied as many names of genuine Indian citizens have been left out. I appeal to govt to review formation of Foreigners Tribunal. (ANI)
- Delhi: Congress meeting to be held shortly at 10 Janpath on Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) final list issue. (ANI)
- A total of 3,11,21,004 persons found eligible for inclusion in final NRC leaving out 19,06,657 persons including those who did not submit their claims.Those not satisfied with outcome can file appeal before Foreigners Tribunals.