New Delhi: There are 31.1 million people listed in the ‘National Register of Citizens’ (NRC), prepared for the state of Assam. More than 1.9 million people have been excluded from the list as they could not produce documents to prove their nationality. However, NRC coordinator, Prateek Hajela, informed that these people would be given an opportunity to prove their Indian nationality and can appeal to the Foreign Tribunal. Also, Hajela further said that they have the option of approaching the court open to them.
Complaints of the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants entering into Bangladesh threatening the interests of the local Assam residents and the national security were being received for many decades. Taking cognisance of the matter, the NRC process was begun in the 80s. However, it took a long time to implement it, and the process was initiated only four years ago. In July 2018, the NRC list was published, and 4.08 million people had been excluded from the list. Nevertheless, the agencies had agreed that the list required further scrutiny.
Accordingly, the final NRC list was published on Saturday at 10 am. The list includes 31,121,004 people but also clarifies that the number of people who couldn’t prove their nationality was pegged at 1,906,657. These people would be termed intruders, although no immediate action would be taken against them. The Coordinator of the NRC, Prateek Hajela, said that they would get one more opportunity to prove their nationality. Additionally, they could even appeal to the Foreign Tribunal within 120 days and also had the option to approach the High court or the Supreme court, Hajela said.
Meanwhile, the actual number of illegal immigrants was claimed to be much less than what was initially asserted to be. Political leaders are highlighting that the government had previously said that the number of illegal immigrants was significantly high. At the same time, some of the people observing the NRC process had alleged that the process had not been appropriately implemented in the border areas near Bangladesh. Therefore, observers said that the actual number of illegal immigrants had not been revealed.
Demands are being made that after implementing NRC in the state of Assam, it is necessary to prepare the NRC list in the entire country. Furthermore, requests for the implementation of the NRC in New Delhi and Mumbai were voiced. Some people have approached the supreme court with a petition for the grant of citizenship rights to the illegal immigrants from a foreign country. Nevertheless, the Indian government has taken a firm stand on the matter. It said that the resources in India primarily belonged to the citizens and would not be made available for illegal foreign immigrants to derive its benefit. Moreover, while presenting its stand in the supreme court, the government underscored that the issue was linked to national security.