The final list of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam left out over 19 lakh people, almost half of the 40 lakh people excluded in the final draft published last year. Out of 3,30,27,661 applicants, a total of 3,11,21,004 persons were found eligible for inclusion in the final NRC. Taking into account all the persons already included and after disposal of all Claims and Objections and proceedings under Clause 4(3), it has been found that a total of 3,11,21,004 numbers of persons are found eligible for inclusion in Final NRC leaving out 19,06,657 numbers of persons including those who did not submit Claims, coordinator of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) said.
- Today’s publication is a “Supplementary Inclusions List” which provides the names of those included into the NRC after they had filed “claims” against their exclusion in the final draft published July 30 last year or excluded in the additional draft exclusions list published on June 26, 2019 or those who were in the final draft but had “objections” filed against their names or those who were included in the final draft but called for hearing from July 5, 2019 onwards.
- The entire process of NRC update had been meticulously carried out in an objective and transparent manner and statutory provisions and due procedure were followed at every stage.
- The process of receipt of NRC Application Forms started during the end of May 2015 and ended on August 31, 2015. A total of 3,30,27,661 members applied through 68,37,660 applications.
- The particulars submitted by the applicants were taken up for scrutiny to determine the eligibility of their inclusion in NRC. The exercise of NRC Update is a mammoth exercise involving around 52,000 state government officials working for a prolonged period.
- All decisions of inclusion and exclusion are taken by these statutory officers. The entire process of NRC update has been meticulously carried out in an objective and transparent manner. Adequate opportunity of being heard has been given to all persons at every stage of the process.
- The entire process is conducted as per statutory provisions and due procedure followed at every stage.
- Those excluded can approach a Foreigners Tribunal with a certified copy of the rejection order from the NRC, along with the grounds for appeal.
- The Tribunal has to give its final order within 120 days from the date of production of records, the Home Ministry stated in an order dated May 30 this year.
- In addition to the 100 Foreigners Tribunals, 200 more will be functional by September 1, state government officials said. If the applicant loses their case before such a Tribunal, he or she can appeal in the High Court, and then the Supreme Court if necessary.
- Someone who is not only excluded from the final NRC but also loses his or her case in a Foreigners Tribunal, however, faces possible arrest, and the prospect of being sent to a detention centre.
- The NRC sets the cut-off date to be a legal Indian citizen as March 24, 1971 — a date formalised by the Assam Accord, which was signed by the All Assam Students Union, Assam government and Central government in 1985.
- The NRC was first prepared in 1951, and the current exercise was an update. The final NRC includes names of people already in the 1951 NRC and their descendants.
- It also includes those in any of the electoral rolls up to March 24, 1971, or in any one of other admissible documents issued up to that date, as well as the descendants of such people.
- The preparation of the draft exclusion list of the NRC was approved by the SC under the Clause 5 of the Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
- The FTs are quasi-judicial bodies meant to “furnish opinion on the question of whether a person is or is not a foreigner within the meaning of Foreigner’s Act, 1946”.
A timeline of Assam NRC
- 1950: Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act comes into force following the entry of refugees from then East Pakistan to Assam after partition.
- 1951: First Census of Independent India conducted. Based on Census, first NRC compiled.
- 1957: Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act repealed.
- 1964-1965: Influx of refugees from East Pakistan due to disturbances in that country.
- 1971: Fresh influx due to riot and war in East Pakistan. Independence Bangladesh comes into existence.
- 1979-1985: Six-year-long Assam agitation spearheaded by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) for detection, disenfranchisement and deportation of foreigners.
- 1983: Massacre at Nellie in Central Assam which claimed the lives of over 3,000 people. Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act passed.
- 1985: Assam Accord signed by the Centre, the state, AASU and AAGSP in the presence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. It stated, among other clauses, that foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971, shall be expelled.
- 1997: Election Commission decides to add ‘D’ (doubtful) against names of voters whose claim to Indian citizenship is doubtful.
- 2005: Supreme Court strikes down IMDT Act as unconstitutional. Tripartite meeting among Centre, state government and AASU decides to update 1951 NRC. But no major development takes place.
- 2009: Assam Public Works (APW), an NGO, files case in Supreme Court praying for deletion of foreigners’ name in electoral rolls and the updation of NRC.
- 2010: Pilot project starts in Chaygaon, Barpeta to update NRC. Project successful in Chaygaon. Four killed in violence in Barpeta. Project shelved.
- 2013: Supreme Court takes up APW petition, directs Centre, state to begin the process for updating NRC. NRC State Coordinator’s office set up.
- 2015: Updation of NRC process begins.
- 2017: On December 31 midnight, Draft NRC published with names of 1.9 crore included of total 3.29 crore applicants.
- July 30, 2018: Another Draft NRC published with over 40 lakh of 2.9 crore people excluded.
- June 26, 2019: Publication of Additional Draft Exclusion List of 1,02,462 released.
- August 31, 2019: Final NRC released.