Assam NRC list: The eligibility issue and other latest developments

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Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma on Wednesday said that ineligible names will be deleted from the final list. Sarma’s letter to all the Deputy Commissioners and District Registrar of Citizen Registration (DRCR) did not mention how many people will be excluded but people familiar with the developments told news agency PTI that around 10,000 people will be excluded.

Sarma said in the letter, “…as per the reports received from your end through Webform, some names of ineligible persons belonging to the categories of DF (declared foreigners)/DV (’D’ voters)/PFT (pending in Foreigners Tribunals) along with their descendants have found entry to the NRC.”

Chief minister Sarabananda Sonowal had earlier this month said that the government is committed to fulfil all clauses of the Assam Accord, including Clause 6, and publication of a flawless NRC, according to PTI.

Here is everything you need to know about the massive government exercise:

■The NRC is an exercise to verify citizenship in India. But despite being released in August last year, it still remains to be notified by the Registrar General of India.

■The final NRC list excluded close to 20 lakh people. A total of 3.1 crore names were included out of 3.3 crore applicants.

■After the publication of the final NRC, almost all stakeholders and political parties criticised it as a faulty document, alleging exclusion of indigenous people and the inclusion of illegal immigrants.

■On August 31, 2020, a year after the final list was published, parliamentary affairs minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said in the Assembly that the Assam government had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court for re-verification of 20 per cent names in districts bordering Bangladesh and 10 per cent in the rest.

■Organisations like the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) will be looking forward to it after Sonowal’s promise of fulfilling all clauses of the Assam Accord.

■The Assam Accord was signed in the year 1985 which ended half a decade long, violent anti-immigrant movement in the state, which borders Bangladesh and was also among the states which saw a huge influx of Bengali refugees, both Hindus and Muslims, following the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Assam had also taken in refugees before 1971 after India’s independence.

■The Clause 6 of the Assam Accord states that, “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”

■The coronavirus pandemic has also affected the process of sending out rejection orders to people who have been excluded from the list. The rejection order can be challenged 120 days after it has been issued.

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