GUWAHATI: After a six-year-long mammoth exercise that entailed the examinations of 60 million documents submitted by the applicants, a whopping 19,06,657 people have been excluded from the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
The third and final list of the Supreme Court-monitored NRC, published on Saturday, saw 3,11,21,004 of the 3,30,27,661 applicants included. Most political parties, including the ruling BJP, and organisations were livid with the “less” number of exclusions.
“Taking into account all the persons already included and after disposal of all claims and objections (process) and proceedings under Clause 4(3), it has been found that a total of 3,11,21,004 numbers of persons are found eligible for inclusion in final NRC leaving out 19,06,657 numbers of persons including those who did not submit claims,” NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela said.
There were anxieties among people left out but not a single incident of violence was reported from anywhere.
The complete draft of the NRC, published last year, did not figure the names of 40.07 lakh applicants. Earlier this year, the NRC authorities had published an additional draft of deletion where the names of a little of 1.02 lakh people, who had earlier made it to the NRC, were excluded. This took the total number of exclusions to 41.09 lakh. Of them, 3.87 lakh had not filed claims to get their names included.
Those left out have not become “stateless” nor do they have any fear of immediate detention. They are also not going to be deported.
They can file appeal in the Foreigners’ Tribunals within 120 days and the cases have to be disposed of within six months from the day the appeals were filed. People not getting relief from the tribunals can move the High Court and then the Supreme Court.
The state government has already said that it will extend legal aid to the excluded. Congress and some NGOs have also made a similar offer. Meanwhile, the political parties have been critical of the exercise.
“We do not trust this NRC and we are not happy. We appeal to the Centre and the state governments to prepare a nation-wide NRC,” BJP president Ranjit Kumar Dass told reporters here.
He said the party would keep a hawk’s eye on the process of appeals filed by the excluded in various Foreigners’ Tribunals and judgements of the cases.
“If we find that the tribunals are delivering adverse judgements on the appeals by genuine Indians, we will not wait for the entire 19 lakh cases to be disposed of. We will bring in a law and make an Act to protect them.” Dass asserted.
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Earlier, the BJP had criticised the NRC state coordinator for high inclusion of names in districts bordering Bangladesh where the Muslims are in a large majority.
The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which was born out of the anti-immigrants’ agitation and an ally of the BJP, said the number of exclusions was “ridiculously small”.
“We all in Assam hoped for an error-free NRC but it appears that the existence of the Assamese will be further threatened from now on,” AGP president Atul Bora said.
He said several Central and state leaders had asserted in Parliament over a period of time that the number of the illegal immigrants in Assam was anything from 30 lakh to 50 lakh.
“Given the various estimates, we find it very difficult to accept the figures published in the final NRC,” Bora said.
Minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), however, had no problem with the figures. The party said there was a possibility that many of those excluded would make it to the list after filing appeals in the tribunals.
“The issue persisted for 40 years as no government tried to solve it. We thank the Supreme Court for its order to update the NRC,” AIUDF spokesman Aminul Islam said.