Hopes of thousands of families in Assam has been dashed as over one lakh people have been excluded from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC). Names that had featured in the draft citizens’ list of July 2018 have been removed because of ‘ineligibility’. The government has maintained that the NRC process seeks to identify and deport illegal Bangladeshi migrants from the northeastern state.
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Officials say those who have not made it in the list will be informed individually through letters. They said the people have a chance to file their claims at designated NRC help centres by July 11. The list will also be made available on the NRC web portal.
An uproar ensued last year after more than 40 lakh people were not named in the draft citizens’ list in July 2018. It included 2.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applications. An alarm was raised when an Indian Army veteran, who had served for 30-years, and his family were not included in the NRC.
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the people that ‘no genuine Indian citizen’ would be left out from the NRC. “I am aware of the problems and the difficulties faced by many during the NRC process, but I assure you that no injustice will be done to any genuine Indian citizen.”
Colin Gonsalves, a senior advocate in the Supreme Court and founder director of Human Rights Law Network, wrote that the central government’s move to establish the NRC and deport four million residents of Assam leaves India vulnerable to charge of ethnic cleansing. Gonsalves said India has added four million people to the list of ‘millions of stateless people in the world’. “That these people have lived in Assam for decades and are entirely integrated into the local community makes the Indian case stand out on the international stage for its sheer inhumanity.” Gonsalves highlighted the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness – creates an international obligation to prevent statelessness and prohibits the withdrawal of nationality in situations where persons would be left stateless.