GOROMARI/ASSAM: THERE is no clarity as of now as to when the process to file appeals in the Foreigners’ Tribunals by those excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will begin.
The state government said they would get a 120-day window to move the tribunals seeking the inclusion of their names. However, opposition Congress demanded the authorities first provide certified copies to the excluded citing reasons for their exclusion and only after that, the process to file appeals should begin.
The NRC has not made those excluded “stateless”. None excluded will be put in the detention camps. There is no question of deportation as the Centre and Bangladesh government have already said that it is an internal matter of India.
The appeals in the tribunals have to be disposed of in six months from the day they were filed. As such, detention, if any, will begin following the disposal of the cases. It should be after six months to ten months depending on when the excluded file the appeals.
Over 19 lakh people have been excluded from the NRC. The Assam government does not have the facilities to keep so many people in detention. The jails where the declared foreigners are kept are already crowded. There is just one detention camp which is coming up in Goalpara but it can house a maximum of 3,000 people. The government has taken a decision to build ten such detention camps. Altogether, they will be able to house 33,000 people.
If people do not get relief even after filing appeals in the tribunals, they can challenge their exclusion by moving the Gauhati High Court and then the Supreme Court.
The state government has already decided to extend legal aid to them free of cost when they fight their cases in the tribunals. Assam has 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals and the government said it would set up another 200 such tribunals.
People left out can claim inclusion by producing any of the 15 documents specified by NRC authorities.
People left off the NRC are not “stateless” and will continue to enjoy all the rights as before till they exhaust all the remedies available under the law, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Sunday.
It said exclusion from the NRC has no implication on the rights of an individual resident in Assam and that they will not be deprived of any rights or entitlements which they have enjoyed before.
The MEA’s comments came in the wake of commentaries in sections of the foreign media about certain aspects of the final NRC which it said are “incorrect”. Out of 3.3 crore applicants, over 19 lakh people were excluded from the final NRC published on Saturday.