The first NRC list was published on December 31, 2017 and contained over 1.9 crore names out of the 3.9 crore people who had filed an application
Assam has released the second and final draft list of the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC) today. The final list has excluded around 40 lakh people from the state.
State NRC officials have assured that those not included in the list will not be sent to detention centres.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said those excluded from the list can approach the foreigner's tribunal. "No coercive action will be taken against anyone, hence there is no need for anyone to panic," he said.
"Some people are unnecessarily trying to create an atmosphere of fear. This is a completely impartial report. No misinformation should be spread. This is a draft and not the final list," Singh added.
Citizens can check for their names online or at NRC sewa kendras (NSK).
The list contains names, addresses and photographs of all citizens of the state residing in Assam before March 25, 1971. It also includes names from the NRC list of 1951.
The first NRC list was published on December 31, 2017 and contained over 1.9 crore names out of the 3.9 crore people who had filed applications.
What is the NRC?
The NRC basically keeps a record of all legal citizens of a state. Initiated in 1951 along with the first census, the NRC takes into consideration things like property owned and houses in every village in the state and the number of people residing in them. Back then, the records were stored by local government officers, but eventually police was given the responsibility of handling them.
What happens now to those who are left out?
The list published by Assam has left out over 40 lakh people. However, state NRC officials have clarified that those excluded will not be sent to detention centres, neither will they need to appeal before the Foreigner’s Tribunal at this point, since it’s a draft and not the final list.
During a press conference, registrar general and census commissioner of India, Sailesh, also stated that those who find themselves excluded from the final list but were included in the first list will be given an individual letter to file claim for her/his non-inclusion.
Officials have stated that authorities will start receiving applications for claims and objections to the list from August 30.
Why is NRC a controversial topic in Assam?
The NRC update is a process whereby all those listed in electoral rolls up to 1971, the 1951 list or any of the prescribed documents are enlisted. Those who are not enlisted, therefore, are automatically deemed as "illegal citizens" and that has sparked panic in the state.
The demand for the list to be updated was raised by All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Assam Gana Parishad (AGP) during the early 1980s, soon after the anti-foreigner’s agitation in the state. Both the organisations claimed that the move was to protect the culture of Assam from illegal immigrants, especially from Bangladesh.
During the period from 1951 to 1961, Assam’s population jumped by 36 percent, and it jumped by another 35 percent during the decade after that, which was more than 10 percent of the national figure for those two decades.
After six years of agitation by the AASU and AGP, the bodies reached an agreement with the government of India in 1985. According to this, all foreigners who had entered Assam during the 10-year period from 1951 to 1961 would be given full citizenship while those that entered after 1971 would be deported. This was called the Assam Accord.In 1999, during a meeting to review the Assam Accord, it was decided to update the NRC. The government sanctioned Rs 20 lakh for the project, out of which Rs 5 lakh was released. The final decision to update the list was taken in 2005.