Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Millions potentially excluded from Indian citizenship in controversial registry

Millions potentially excluded from Indian citizenship in controversial registry

Flaying the Opposition for questioning Assam's draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), BJP President Amit Shah on Tuesday demanded that all political parties should clarify their stand on "Bangladeshi infiltrators". Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951. Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal reiterated his appeal to all people to maintain harmony and assured that all genuine citizens will get an opportunity to enlist their names.

Numerous state's Bengali community have lived in India for decades, crossing the border into Assam during the bloody Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) independence struggle in 1971.

"We didn't expect that such a large number of people will be left out", Ajmal said here after the release of final NRC draft.

The first list of the NRC process was released in December 31 past year, in which around 1.9 crore people out of the total applications of 3.29 crore people were included. It comprised 1.9 crore names out of the total application of 3.29 crore people in Assam.

Claiming that no Indian citizen was debarred by the NRC, Shah accused the Congress and the Trinamool of spreading lies and misinformation.

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Security has been tightened across the state, which borders Bangladesh, as thousands of Bengali-speaking Muslims worry about being sent to detention centres or deported. Almost all were Muslim and many were children. The CM also extended heartiest congratulations to the 55,000 officials engaged in NRC updation process and the people living across the Barak and Brahmaputra valleys, plains and hills of the State. I have requested the Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) to be present in the House. "The BJP has no ambivalence at all, they want to keep the Bengali Hindus and exclude the Muslims".

According to officials of the government, no large scale migration has taken place after the War of Independence or is taking place now from Bangladesh and Assam. NRC is key for security of the people of the country and its citizens.

The home minister, he said, has agreed to do so once he finishes replying to questions in the Lok Sabha.

"In this regard, the court would like to observe that what has been published is a complete draft of NRC and it can't be the basis for any action by any authority", the SC recorded in its order. The NRC is being updated under the Supreme Court's supervision. In parliament on Monday Singh told MPs that there would be no deportations based on the register and said there was no need to create "unnecessary panic". "I also urge people not to make any communal statements and remain watchful against falling prey to rumours". A similar exclusion - it is commonly believed - would benefit the Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the general elections of 2019.

"Any person who is not satisfied with the outcome of the claims and objections can file appeal before the Foreigners Tribunal", he added.

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