Assam NRC : Beginning to the End of Illegal Migrants In India
Assam NRC : The Government of Assam on 31st August, 2019 released the final list of National Register of Citizens (NRC). The NRC updating process in Assam was started on orders of Supreme Court in 2013. Carried on by the Registrar General of India and monitored by the Supreme Court, the Assam NRC updation process differs from the rest of the country. In Assam, it is governed by Section 4A in The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
Since 1979, the state of Assam witnessed a 6-year long movement seeking detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshis. As per the Assam Accord, 1985, updating the NRC was one of the promises made under it. However, the process was stagnated for years and it was only in 2013 when Supreme Court took up the matter and set up a deadline for publishing an updated National Register of Citizens.
Who are Eligible to be Registered?
- Persons whose names appear in NRC, 1951.
- Persons whose names appear in any of the Electoral Rolls up to 24th March (midnight), 1971.
- Persons who came to Assam on or after 1st January 1966 but before 25th March 1971 and registered themselves in accordance with the rules made by the Central Government with the Foreigners Registration Regional Officer (FRRO) and who have not been declared as illegal migrants or foreigners by the competent authority.
- Persons who are original inhabitant of Assam and their children and descendant who are citizens of India provided the citizenship of such personas is ascertained reasonable doubt by the registering authority.
- Persons who can provide any one of the documents issued upto midnight of 24th March, 1971 as mentioned in the list of documents admissible for citizenship.
What Happens to the Left Out?
The final NRC has left out over 19 lakh people in Assam. A total of 3.29 crore people had applied for the NRC, of which 3.11 were found to be eligible to be included in the final list. The aim of the register was to separate the genuine Indian citizens from those of illegal migrants.
The state government, in a public notice on August 27, said that those left out of the final list of the NRC can file appeals before foreigners’ tribunals, which are quasi-judicial bodies that adjudicate matters of nationality in Assam. They would be given 120 days to file appeals. The state said it will provide legal aid to those filing appeals. Over 200 Foreigners’ Tribunals have been set up for this purpose across the state. If a applicant is dissatisfied with the foreigners’ tribunals, he/she can again appeal for the same.
Reaction of the People
Retired Army Officer Mohammad Sanaullah expressed his displeasure upon his name being excluded in the list. However, he said that he was not expecting his name to be in the list as his case was pending in High Court.
Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said he is unhappy with the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). He said that the number of people were included in the final NRC list because of “manipulation” of legacy data.
The Assam Public Works (APW), the original petitioner in the Supreme Court which led to the updating of the National Register of Citizens six years ago, called the final NRC a “flawed document” as its prayer for re-verification of draft NRC was rejected by the apex court.
The All Assam Students Union (AASU), which spearheaded the 6-year movement that culminated in the signing of the Assam Accord of 1985, also said it was not happy with the final NRC and will appeal against it in the Supreme Court.
Assam has faced influx of illegal Bangladeshis migrants since decades. The NRC process was to identify such illegal migrants and deport them back to their nation. However, after the release of final list of NRC, none seems to be satisfied with it. People of Assam believes that the ones who have been citizen forever are excluded and many of the illegal migrants have been included in the list. The Assam National Register of Citizen however is the first step to identify illegal citizens of India which is expected to be conducted in others states too in future.