19,00,000 left out, final Assam NRC elicits anger & sense of betrayal

Wednesday 04th September 2019 06:17 EDT

Assam’s NRC upgradation process ended with the rejection of the citizenship claims of a little over 19,00,000 people out of the total 40,00,000 who had not found a place in last year’s draft National Register of Citizens. Widespread anger and a sense of betrayal was seen among political parties and the people while many felt too few had been rejected.

Altogether, 33 million people had applied for entry into the NRC. A full list of those who qualified for the NRC this time and last year will be put online on September 7. A total of 3,30,27,661 people had applied to be included in the NRC. Of them, 3,11,21,004 have been included in the document and 19,06,657 excluded, a statement from the NRC State Coordinators office said.

Given the long process of litigation, there is a perception that it will take years to identify the Indians in Assam. After all, the upgradation of the NRC is a process to identify Indians, not illegal immigrants. The dissatisfied believe the NRC, billed as the country’s most complex and most controversial headcount, has legitimised the existing nature of Assam’s demography, the reason why the state suffered political and ethnic troubles. The low percentage of exclusion in Bengali-speaking Muslim migrant majority districts, particularly those bordering Bangladesh, has given rise to a belief among those calling the process “flawed” that most illegal migrants have made it into the NRC.

‘Re-verification should be allowed’

Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “The names of many Indian citizens who migrated from Bangladesh as refugees prior to 1971 have not been included in the NRC because the authorities refused to accept their refugee certificates.” “Many names got included because of manipulation of legacy data, which occurred.” Sarma tweeted, “I reiterate that as requested by the central and state governments at least 20% re-verification (bordering districts) and 10% re-verification (remaining districts) should be allowed by Hon'ble Apex court for a correct and fair NRC.”

A Kargil veteran, a sitting and an ex-MLA of the AIDUF were among those whose names were excluded from the final NRC. The daughter of Congress MLA Ilias Ali too found her name missing though the legislator and his other family members made it to the updated list. Kargil war veteran and retired army officer Mohammad Sanaullah, who spent a few days in detention in May after being declared a foreigner by a tribunal, was excluded from the updated list. Sanaullah's two daughters and a son were reportedly not included, though his wife's name appeared in the list, which validates bona fide Indian citizens in Assam. AIUDF MLA Ananta Kumar Malo, representing Abhayapuri South assembly constituency in Bongaigaon district, said he could not find his name in the final NRC. "My son's name also is not in the NRC final list," the legislator claimed. Malo's party colleague Ataur Rahman Mazarbhuyan is another prominent exclusion. The former MLA said he would take legal option and go to the Foreigners Tribunal to get his name included in the NRC.

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