Assam: Amnesty International expresses concern over NRC final list

Published: Aug 31, 2019, 17:01 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Bengaluru

Akar Patel, who heads the human rights organization has asked the government to ensure that the foreigners’ tribunal is not depriving a person of his/her nationality on arbitrary or vague grounds

People check their names on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) final list at a National Register of Citizens office at Guwahati. Pic/PTI
People check their names on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) final list at a National Register of Citizens office at Guwahati. Pic/PTI

As the National Register of Citizens (NRC) final list has excluded 19.07 lakh people in Assam today, Amnesty International India has reportedly appealed to the Assam government to ensure that the Foreigners Tribunals function with utmost transparency.

Akar Patel, Head of Amnesty International India, said in a statement, that it should function in line with the fair trial standards guaranteed under national and international laws."Several reports have demonstrated how the proceedings before Foreigners Tribunals are arbitrary, while their orders are biased and discriminatory," he said.

Patel also expressed deep concern over the functioning of the 100 and more Foreigners Tribunals. "Although, the Government of India is within its sovereign right to update NRC, it must ensure that it is not depriving a person of his/her nationality on arbitrary or vague grounds, by diminishing procedural due process, or if such deprivation stands to render a person stateless," he said.

Also Read: Assam: Over 19 lakh people excluded from NRC final list

According to the human rights organisation, there were instances of foreigners’ tribunals declaring citizens as irregular foreigners over clerical errors, such as minor differences in spellings of names or age in electoral rolls, or slight contradictions between answers given in cross-examinations and what is written in the documents, which it termed "appallingly common, " reported PTI.

Patel also alleged Assam government was applying "pressure on members to allegedly declare large numbers of people as irregular foreigners," citing media reports. "Assam is on the brink of a crisis which would not only lead to a loss of nationality and liberty of a large group of people but also (an) erosion of their basic rights - severely affecting the lives of generations to come," He further said in his statement.

The updated final NRC, which validates bonafide Indian citizens of Assam, was out on Saturday, with over 19 lakh applicants failing to make it to the list and now staring at an uncertain future. They have 120 days to appeal against it at Foreigners’ Tribunals. The Assam government has assured that they will not detain the people who do not figure in the list "in any circumstances" till the time Foreigners’ Tribunals render them foreigners.

With inputs from PTI

Also Read: Security tightened in Assam ahead of final NRC list publication

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