More than 1.9 million people were evicted from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the last and updated document published on Saturday, a day after the BJP-led state government expressed its displeasure over Mammat’s exercise. .
Security forces turned to sensitive places in a tense situation where large-scale and controversial practice since 2014 has opened up old wounds and divided people on religious and linguistic grounds.
The final list numbered “19,06,657 people”, said NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela in a statement. He said, about 31 million people have been included in the final list.
Although a break-up of the numbers was not immediately available, earlier data indicated that the majority of the excluded were likely to be Hindus and not Muslims. This has been one of the major concerns for BJP governments both at the state and the Center – as providing safe havens for “persecuted Hindus” from neighboring countries, has been a major agenda of the ruling party.
Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma — a key figure in the BJP’s expansion in the Northeast — said the party no longer believes in the NRC as a national document. “This is the end of a phase for us … Dispur and Delhi have already started thinking of an alternative mechanism to drive out illegal foreigners,” he was quoted as saying in a media report.
The 1.9 militaries excluded are from about 33 million people who applied for inclusion in citizenship records. The final NRC contains the names of individuals who were residing in India before 24 March 1971 or whose ancestors resided before the cut-off date.
The NRC update exercise is part of the 1985 Assam Accord which sought to trace the end of the six-year-long mass movement and sought to find out how many people believed “millions of illegal immigrants”, mainly from Bangladesh With which Assam shares a 262-km border
The controversial practice has put the state on a global conspiracy to target the minority Muslim community for an alleged Hindu right-wing conspiracy. Several BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, have called the infiltrators “termites” to protect Hindus fleeing persecution in neighboring countries.
People left out of NRC will not get 120 days to get their citizenship. Their appeals will be heard by a quasi-judicial set-up for the Foreign Tribunal, Assam. The Center has also said that people left out of NRC will not be sent to ‘detention centers’, whose citizenship is in doubt. Both the central and state governments have promised legal aid to “all genuine citizens” who are not named in the NRC.
Rights activists point to exposing retired army personnel and family members of freedom fighters, among others, to what they claim was a flawed process to determine citizenship.
The full list of NRC will be published on 7 September.