The National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a list of people who are recognized as citizens of India. It was first created in 1951 in the state of Assam, located in the north-eastern region of India. The NRC was initially created to identify those who were born in India and those who were migrants from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

In 2013, the Supreme Court of India issued directions to the central and state governments to initiate an exercise to update the NRC in Assam. This order was based on a petition filed by an NGO called Assam Public Works. The goal of this update was to create a comprehensive and up-to-date list of citizens in the state.

The first draft of the updated NRC was released in 2018. It included the names of those who could establish their Indian citizenship by being residents or descendants of people living in Assam before March 25, 1971. This date was chosen as the cut-off date for the deportation of foreigners, as per the Assam Accord of August 1985.

The final list of the updated NRC was published in 2019. However, it faced criticism from several parties, who dismissed it as "faulty". The final list included the names of 19.06 lakh people out of 3.3 crore applicants. These people were excluded due to a lack of adequate documents to prove their citizenship.

Three years later, the process of updating the NRC in Assam is currently on pause. The Registrar General of India (RGI) has yet to notify the final list.

Why was the NRC created in Assam?

  • The NRC was created in Assam for several reasons. One of the main reasons was to identify illegal immigrants who had entered the state from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). These immigrants were a source of tension and conflict in the state, as they were perceived as taking away jobs and resources from the local population.
  • Another reason for the creation of the NRC was to address the issue of illegal immigration in the state. There were concerns that large numbers of people were entering Assam illegally, and that this was putting a strain on the state's resources. The NRC was seen as a way to identify and deport these illegal immigrants, and to ensure that only genuine citizens were able to access government benefits and services.

The NRC update process in Assam

  • The process of updating the NRC in Assam began in 2013, when the Supreme Court issued directions to the central and state governments to initiate an exercise to update the NRC. The first draft of the updated NRC was released in 2018, and the final list was published in 2019.
  • The update process involved collecting and verifying documents from all applicants, in order to determine their eligibility for inclusion on the NRC. This included documents such as birth certificates, school certificates, and voter lists.
  • Those who were unable to provide adequate documentation to prove their citizenship were excluded from the final list. This included 19.06 lakh people out of 3.3 crore applicants.

Controversies surrounding the NRC in Assam

  • The NRC update process in Assam has been controversial and has faced criticism from several parties. Some have dismissed the final list as "faulty" and have raised concerns about the exclusion of so many people.
  • There have also been concerns about the potential for discrimination and bias in the NRC update process. Some have argued that certain groups, such as minority communities, may be more likely to be excluded due to a lack of documentation or other issues.
  • There have also been concerns about the potential for individuals to be wrongly included or excluded from the NRC.

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