Published: Mon, July 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

India strips four million people of citizenship in Assam

India strips four million people of citizenship in Assam

In the full draft list published today 2.89 crore names have appeared.

The government said those missing from the list would have a chance to resubmit documents between August 30 and September 28, and had the option to appeal at the foreigners' tribunal.

More than 4 million people were excluded from a draft list of citizens released on Monday by a census official for India's northeastern border state of Assam, in a long-running campaign against immigrants, sparking uncertainty about their future. In February 1983, 2,000 immigrant Muslims were slaughtered in one night by machete-armed mobs in a brutal massacre in Nellie.

Will the NRC resolve the citizenship issue?

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said "original citizens" of the state are being asked questions and this is creating division in the state based on caste and creed.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is the list of Indian citizens of Assam. More than 70 people died and a bunch of pleas reached the Supreme Court thereafter.

The citizenship test is the culmination of years of often violent agitations by Assamese demanding the removal of outsiders they accuse of taking jobs and cornering resources in the state of 33 million, known for its tea estates and oil fields. Many Muslim residents angrily reject the charge of being illegal, saying that not only they, but their grandparents, were born in Assam and they know of no other place.

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What is the NRC list and who can be included?

As quoted by The Hindu, Mr Sonowal said, "More than 55,000 officers and employees devoted time to prepare an error-free NRC and ensure the exercise monitored by the Supreme Court and guided by the Registrar General of India is a success".

A new draft register of citizens includes only those able to prove they were in Assam before 1971, when millions fled Bangladesh's war of independence into the state, and their descendants. They settled in Assam, which borders the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to the north and Bangladesh to the south and is home to several rebel groups. Muslims form one-third of state's population. The state is still holding the central forces and they plan to continue that until the entire process is not completed.

The state's BJP spokesman was not immediately available for comment, but India's home minister, Rajnath Singh, called the registration process impartial.

Last month, thousands of people protested in the streets of Assam's capital, Gauhati, against a proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill which would grant citizenship to Hindus who have fled Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, alleging persecution by Muslim majorities in those countries.

Singh also reiterated that people finding their names missing from the list could raise objections and appeals, and said that they would not be thrown into detention centers.

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