NEW DELHI: The 200 new foreigners’ tribunals (FTs) in Assam are likely to be operational from October 1. The decks were cleared on Wednesday when the state government appointed 221 practising lawyers and retired civil servants and judicial officers as members of the tribunals. They were among over 2,000 people who had appeared in an interview.“In the interest of public service, the following selected candidates have been appointed as member, Foreigners’ Tribunal, for a period of 1 (one) year from the date of taking over charge,” an official statement read releasing the names of the appointees.
The 221 will attend a two-day training programme in Guwahati on September 28 and 29. “It is more or less certain that the candidates appointed will assume charge from October 1,” a source said.The tribunals are headed by a judge. Assam had 100 such tribunals but the backlog of over two lakh cases and the exclusion of over 40 lakh people from the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), published on July 30, 2018, had forced the government to decide on setting up the 200 more tribunals.
‘No bias or prejudice’
NRC was rolled out following a “non-discriminatory” process and nearly 19 lakh people left out of it will have adequate legal options to contest their exclusion, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson in the ministry, asserted that there was no bias or prejudice against those whose names did not figure in the final NRC.
“Which country allows illegal people to stay in its territory... Of course, the due process has to be followed and it is being followed. We have explained that the NRC is a statutory and transparent process,” Kumar said during a media briefing. “It is a legal process mandated by the Supreme Court. It is not an executive-driven process. It is a non-discriminatory process.”
The NRC has been prepared to identify genuine Indian citizens living in Assam since March 24, 1971, or before, and weed out illegal Bangladeshi migrants from the state.With inputs from agencies
Mamata challenges BJP on NRC issue
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee warned the BJP not to play with fire in the name of NRC and said she would never allow the exercise in the state. Banerjee, also the Trinamool supremo, challenged BJP leaders to touch even one citizen of Bengal in the name of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). ‘‘We are against NRC in Assam. We will never allow NRC in Bengal. We will not allow them (BJP) to divide people on caste and religious lines,’’ Mamata said while addressing a gathering after marching from Sinthee to Shyambazar in protest against the exercise. The CM asked her party workers to campaign in the state and create awareness about the negative impacts of NRC if exercised in Bengal.
‘Nagas will not merge with Union of India’
Major insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagalim said the Nagas will not merge with the Union of India but co-exist as two entities. “Nagas are a recognized entity. Nagas do not accept Indian Constitution, but Nagas and Indians will share sovereign powers,” the NSCN-IM said.