News & Information From Northeast India

Assam on high alert as final NRC publishing date nears

The Assam government has tightened security across the state ahead of the publication of National Register of Citizens (NRC) on August 31.

The Union government is also reviewing the state’s preparedness to handle the law and order issue that might arise as reaction from those left out of the NRC.

The NRC is a list of all citizens domiciled in Assam and is being updated at present to retain bonafide citizens within the state and evict illegal settlers, purportedly migrants from Bangladesh.

At present, the list is being updated – for the first time since 1951 – by the Registrar General of India in a Supreme Court-monitored exercise.

The Central government has assured Assam police that additional reinforcements will be sent if required. The Assam police chief has said “foolproof security” arrangements are in place following identification of “sensitive areas” across the state.

State government officials and local administration are in an overdrive undertaking last-minute quality control checks to ensure no bonafide citizen is left out from the NRC. Officials said persons against whom cases are pending in the Foreigners Tribunal or the Border Police wing are being excluded from the list.

Coordinating officials of the NRC have issued advisories upon citizens to check their names in the list. Citizens can check their names by visiting the local citizens’ assistance booth, the circle office, the office of deputy commissioners or the NRC web site.

There had been huge backlash from local citizens, who claimed they originally belonged to Assam, when their names went missing from the draft NRC published on 30 July 2018. Nearly 41 lakh applications had been rejected from the 3.29 crore that had been submitted.

Again, nearly one lakh additional names were left out from the list that was published subsequently on 26 June 2019.

Confusion prevailed among locals about the two lists because many citizens whose names had figured in the first draft published in July 2018 were missing from the subsequent list published in June this year.

The basic aim of updating the list is to identify those who have migrated to Assam in huge numbers from the neighboring country of Bangladesh since early 20th century.

Human rights’ bodies though have castigated the NRC exercise by calling it victimization of the poor and lop-sided for those belonging to tribal groups because they had not preserved data pertaining to their legacy in order to prove their citizenship in the future.

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