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What is NRC of Assam? All You Need to Know
Author: Thamanna Abdul Latheef
The whole political discourse has shifted from the no-confidence motion to Assam National Register of Citizens(NRC) in the monsoon session of the parliament. Many of us might be thinking why is it important and how significant enough it is to create an uproar in the parliament. Well, the Assam National Register is the list of Indian citizens in Assam and it is being updated to weed out illegal immigration from neighbouring region like Bangladesh.
Recently, Assam released the final draft of the NRC which included 2.9 crore names out of a total applicant pool of 3.29 crore. The first draft of the same was released early this year. However, the latest list excluded over 40.07 lakh people wherein 2.89 crore people were found eligible out of the total number of applicants.
What is NRC?
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was first carried out in 1951 following the census of 1951. To be in this register, one has to furnish the following eligibility criteria.
- The applicant's name must be included in the legacy data which is the collective list of NRC data of 1951 and the electoral rolls up to midnight of 24 March 1971.
- The applicant born after 1971 must prove the linkage with the person whose name appears in the legacy data.
How did NRC Updating Process Begin?
The process of NRC update was taken up in Assam following an order in 2013 by the Supreme Court to wipe out the menace of illegal migration from Bangladesh and other nearby areas. It was carried out under 'The Citizenship Act 1995' and according to the rules framed in the Assam Accord.
The updating process of NRC started in May 2015 and ended in August 2015. A total of 3.29 crore people applied through 68.31 lakh applications. The verification process was done as it involved house-to-house field verification, determination of authenticity of the documents, family tree investigations in order to filter out the false claims of parenthood and linkages and separate hearings of married women.
Current Status of NRC Assam
Of the 40.07 lakh applicants who have been left out of the NRC final draft, 2.48 lakh applicants were kept on hold including the D-Voters (doubtful voters who have been disenfranchised on account of failure to prove citizenship), descendants of D-voters and persons whose cases are pending before the foreigners’ tribunal. As far as the other applicants are concerned, the state hasn't revealed any reason for keeping their application on hold so far.
Even though the process of filing claims and objections will start on 30 August, the applicants who had submitted their applications in 2015 will only be considered. Meanwhile, those people whose names have been left out of the NRC Assam can once again appeal to have their case reconsidered.
What's the politics behind NRC?
Although the NRC final draft was prepared, the opposition parties object as over 40.07 lakhs of applicants haven't found a place in the historic document. The Congress has alleged that there is "political motive" of the BJP behind the exclusion of a large number of people in the final draft. They also alleged that there are many irregularities and discrepancies in the current report.
Trinamool Congress claimed that the central government intentionally eliminated more than 40 lakhs religious and linguistic minorities from the NRC which will have serious ramifications on the demography of different states next to Assam.
Even though the people whose names aren't there in the list can raise objections, the fear of being stateless persists until the problem is fixed. In fact, leaving out around 40 million people who have been residing as Indians in Assam for long from the NRC list is a great matter of concern. Curbing illegal migration is a great step towards security, but if a large number of people are denied citizenship, it will not only create a ruckus in the state but also will spread panic among other states across the country.