NEW DELHI: Days before the National Register of Citizens (NRC) publication, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday assured the people that no harassment would take place during the exercise. Singh said the central government wants to make it clear that the NRC, which will be published on July 30, is only a draft. After draft publication, adequate opportunity for claims and objections will be available, he said. “There is no reason for panic or fear.
No person will be allowed to be harassed. We will ensure that every individual gets justice and is treated in a humane manner,” Singh said in an official statement. Singh said the NRC exercise was being carried out in a totally impartial, transparent and meticulous manner and would remain so. The NRC is being updated in accordance with the ‘Assam Accord’ signed on August 15, 1985.
The exercise is being carried out as per the directions of the Supreme Court, which is constantly monitoring the process. “All individuals will have sufficient opportunity for all remedies available under the law. At every stage of the process, adequate opportunity is given to all persons to be heard.” Singh said the entire process is being conducted according to law and the due procedure is being followed. “All claims and objections will be duly examined.
Adequate opportunity of being heard will be given before disposal of claims and objections. Only thereafter, the final NRC will be published.” The Citizenship Rules provide that any person who is not satisfied with the outcome of claims and objections can appeal in the Foreigner’s Tribunal, he said.
“Therefore, there is no question of anyone being put in a detention centre after the publication of NRC.” Singh said the Assam government was told to ensure that law and order was maintained and no one was allowed to take law into their hands.
Singh said the Assam government has been asked to ensure that law and order is maintained and no one is allowed to take law into their hands, and all possible arrangements are made to ensure safety and security for all.
"The central government will provide all necessary help to the state government of Assam in this regard," he said.
The first draft of the NRC, a list of the state's citizens, was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 last where names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated.
The massive exercise aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state that borders Bangladesh is being carried out following a decision in 2005 after a series of meetings between the central and state governments and the influential All Assam Students' Union (AASU).
Assam, which faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.
The current exercise started in 2005 under the then Congress regime, got a major push after the BJP came to power in the state with illegal immigration from Bangladesh as a poll plank.
When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens then.
The process of identification of illegal immigrants in Assam has been debated and become a contentious issue in the state's politics.
A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the AASU in 1979.
It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in the presence of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
(With PTI inputs)