NRC final list shocks Assam, excludes over 19 lakh people
The process of NRC update in Assam differs from the rest of the country and is governed by Rule 4A and the Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Cards) Rules
Over 19 lakh people in Assam were left out of the much-awaited final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) released on a rain-soaked Saturday morning amid heightened security. Some 19,06,657 people have been excluded from the final list, which names 3,11,21,004 people as Indian citizens, the NRC authorities announced. The Union Home Ministry said the 19,06,657 people left out had not submitted their claims.
The citizens' registry was released online around 10 am, ending six years of speculation over the mammoth exercise involving 52,000 state government officials working on it for identifying illegal foreigners living in Assam. In the run-up to Saturday, prohibitory orders were issued banning assembly of more than four people in some public places, 14 districts were declared sensitive areas, and Assam police personnel, 218 companies of additional forces, were deployed in the state to prevent any breach of peace.
The NRC has immense significance for the people of the north eastern state which witnessed a six-year-long movement from 1979 to 1985 seeking detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshis. The movement finally led to signing of the Assam Accord of 1985 by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the leaders of the agitation belonging to the All Assam Students Union and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad. The NRC updation process, which started in the state on orders of the Supreme Court in 2013, is being carried out by the Registrar General of India and is being monitored by the apex court.
Cong leaders meet Sonia
Soon after the much awaited final list was released, several Congress leaders met party interim President Sonia Gandhi to apprise her about the issue. The Congress leaders from the Northeast region, including former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and party MP Gaurav Gogoi, met Sonia Gandhi at her residence. The meeting between the three leaders lasted for over an hour.
After meeting her, Gaurav Gogoi told reporters: "We have apprised Soniaji about the issue and she along with other senior leadership will take a party stand on the NRC issue." "Every section of Assam is unhappy with the status of NRC. Even BJP Ministers are complaining. Careless implementation will result in many genuine Indian citizens to unnecessarily face the courts. Congress will provide all help. Nation above politics is our motto," Gogoi tweeted later.
BJP leader unhappy
Fearing exclusion of a large number of Hindus from the list, the saffron party's man in the northeast, Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Saturday said he had lost all hope in the NRC. Sarma expressed his unhappiness hours before the release of the final list. "We lost hope in the present form of the NRC right after the draft. When so many genuine Indians are out, how can you claim that this document is a red letter for the Assamese society?" said the Assam Finance Minister, who is often called as the "Amit Shah of the Northeast". "The NRC is no quarter-final, semi-final and final for driving out Bangladeshis. Wait for a while and you will see more finals under the BJP regime," he added.
No. of officials involved in exercise
Woman kills self ahead of final list
A woman in Assam's Sonitpur district on Saturday committed suicide shortly before the state's final NRC list was released. The incident took place at No 1 Dolabari village, four km from Tezpur town. Residents of the village said the victim, Shayera Begun, jumped in a well in the backyard of her house. "She was tense about inclusion of her name in the NRC," said a villager, adding that she thought non-inclusion would land the victim and her family in detention centres. But Sonitpur Superintendent of Police Kumar Sanjit Krishna dismissed the claim.
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