Those not on NRC likely to face trouble

Villagers walk past Central Reserve Police Force personnel patrolling a road ahead of the publication of the first draft of the National Register of Citizens in the Juria village of Nagaon district in Assam

Assam Police on Thursday registered a case against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on a complaint against her for alleging that the BJP-led Centre was "hatching a conspiracy" to drive out Bengalis from the northeastern state by "excluding" their names from the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). But the number of people who have found a place in the first draft is 1.93 crore. But we are firm on taking action if people or families are unable to furnish the requisite evidence. "It is good that my name doesn't figure in the first list, it will give confidence to all others whose name has not been included in the NRC as yet", he added.

Lok Sabha MP from Silchar in Assam Sushmita Dev slammed the government for coming out with an "incomplete list" and said this has created unease among locals in Assam. "So instead of shouting over the NRC, the TMC should take lessons from it", the BJP leader said.

Top ULFA rebel leader Paresh Baruah's name figured in the first draft of the NRC. "While Assam was the only state which prepared an NRC way back in 1951 in the wake of post-Partition migrations, Assam will again be the only state to have a Register which will contain the names of all genuine Indian citizens residing in the state", Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam's Chief Minister said. So, my only request to the government is that no genuine citizen should be left out of that register, ” she said.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Assam Public Works, an NGO in the Supreme Court in 2009 made much difference as the issue of foreigners reached the Apex Court which subsequently issued several orders for updating the NRC 1951 in Assam. "Does this mean that the MPs and MLAs of Assam are also Bangladeshis?"

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Talking about the non-inclusion of several names in the first list, Registrar General of India Sailesh said, "There is no need to panic as there is ample time".

"It only means that his or her name is at some stage of verification", he said. Such an option, however, might not go down well with the people of Assam who are at present protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2016, which proposes to grant citizenship to all refugees (except Muslims) who have fled religious persecution in their home countries. "But this is a draft and the problems will be solved in the future drafts". The Bill proposes to grant citizenship to Hindu Bengalis with a cut-off date of December 31, 2014.

The BJP government in Assam condemned Banerjee's statement, saying it was "derogatory, insulting to the people of Assam and against the Constitution as well as the spirit of the Supreme Court".

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