Monday, July 30, 2018

NRC: No Clarity on What Awaits the 40 Lakh People Excluded from Assam's Citizen Register

The nation-state, incapable of providing a law for those who had lost the protection of a national government, transferred the whole matter to the police. Hannah Arendt in 1948 

Over the past three years, 3.29 crore, (32.9 million) people in Assam have submitted a bewildering array of documents to prove they are Indian citizens - a process that sounds like a routine bureau-cratic practice, but in reality has disrupted the lives of millions. On Monday, it emerged that over 12 percent, or 40 lakh, of those who applied have been excluded. 

Of these, Hajela said 2.48 lakh were persons declared foreigners by 100 tribunals across the state, or marked doubtful voters by the election commission, and their descendants were automatically excluded from the NRC process. In the hour-long press conference, officials said those excluded would not be subject to punitive action, detention or deportation — yet.

Satyendra Garg, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, quoted Minister Rajnath Singh's assertion last week that the latest list was a "final draft", implying the application process had ended, but those left out could still appeal their exclusion. "Based on this draft, there is no question of anybody being taken to detention or foreigner's tribunals," said Garg.

"I repeatedly repeat that anyone who is excluded will have adequate opportunity to file claims and objections with the NRC," said Sailesh, the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. "No Indian citizen should have any fear or panic." Yet there is little clarity on what will finally happen to those who lose the appeals process — called 'claims and objections' — and are termed foreigners in a country they have lived in for decades. The Union and Assam government are silent on the fate of those who fail to reclaim their citizenship when the process is finally complete… 
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