Govt stance on detected foreigners post final NRC update ambiguous
GUWAHATI: On 29th June 2018, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) widely published a newspaper advertisement about the options that citizens could avail if their names did not figure in the complete draft list.
According to the advertisement, people whose names do not figure in the complete draft list can submit their claims for inclusion of their names in the final NRC list.
Opportunity will also be given to file objections against inclusion of any ineligible person.
After the process of claims and objection is over, the final NRC will be published.
The question now is: what will happen to those applicants whose names are not published in the final NRC list? Is there a plan in place?
Sources in the border police said that it is very difficult to comment now as the government will share information only after the final NRC list is out.
An advocate of Gauhati High Court, talking to G Plus in anonymity said, “Nothing will happen to the foreigners.” He added that after the final NRC list is published the persons whose names do not figure will approach the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) to contest the NRC authorities. If the judgements of the FTs also go against the applicants, they would further approach Gauhati High Court. If the Gauhati High Court’s judgment is also unfavourable, the applicants can even approach the Supreme Court, the lawyer said. Eventually, the process would be very lengthy and in the course many detected foreigners will again be untraceable.
G Plus, after due diligence and study, reported last week that in the draft final list which was to be published on June 30, around 4 lakh applicants will be on hold. After totalling the numbers of D voters (1,26,520), declared foreigners post 1971 (57,807), unregistered declared foreigners of 1966 to 1971 stream (15,468) and cases pending in foreigners’ tribunal (1,99,657), around 3,99,453 persons would come under scanner and might not make it to the second or final draft NRC list.
As reported by G Plus in the recent past, there are around 90,000 declared foreigners and of them, only 900 are in detention camps while the rest remain untraceable by the border police.
The police are finding it tough to trace the declared foreigners. The NRC authorities identified around 4,238 declared foreigners and sent a list of 43,000 including the siblings of the declared foreigners to the border police for them to be traced and make references if required. But sources revealed that the border police have informed the NRC authorities that it is a tough job for them.
This being the stance now, it is a wonder how they will be traced if their names do not appear in the final NRC list.
The other question that remains is will the people be deported to other countries if they are found to be foreigners?
A senior official of the home department declined from commenting on the issue saying the government is still planning what will need to be done.
In January 2018, chief minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal had said, “The issue of deportation will come later. First, our target is to segregate the foreigners. What steps we will take against them will come next.”
Sonowal had also said, “The people who are declared foreigners will be barred from all constitutional rights, including fundamental and electoral. They will have only one right - human rights as guaranteed by the UN that include food, shelter and clothing.”
A resident of Lal Ganesh, who works in the defence sector and is based in Shillong said, “I am a citizen of Guwahati but I don’t have a voter’s card. I did not apply for NRC and I am not bothered what government will do if my name does not appear in the NRC.” He said that he is a central government employee and has a plot of land in Lal Ganesh and he dares the government to act against him for not applying for NRC.
Talking about deportation, a senior IPS officer explained in anonymity that it would be difficult to deport Bangladeshis.
In 2014, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to enter into necessary discussions with the government of Bangladesh to streamline the process of deporting illegal Bangladeshi migrants.
Though India and Bangladesh entered into an extradition treaty during the United Progressive Alliance II regime in 2013 which facilitated the deportation of the long-in-prison United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) leader Anup Chetia, expulsion of undocumented migrants from Bangladesh allegedly residing in Assam was not discussed in the talks. The talks between the Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guard Bangladesh have not flagged the issue of undocumented migration from across the border beyond the angle of narcotics and cattle smuggling.
The government is still unsure about what will be done with the people who will be detected as Bangladeshis after the NRC final list.
NRC authorities fail to publish complete draft on 30 June
Though the National Register of Citizens (NRC) authorities were expected to publish the complete draft list on 30th June 2018, they have failed to meet the deadline.
State coordinator for NRC, Prateek Hajela, said that many Nagrik Seva Kendras (NSKs) in the Barak Valley area are affected by the recent floods which has delayed the process.
The Supreme Court would fix the next date at a hearing on July 2. The Supreme Court had earlier asked the NRC authorities to publish the NRC by 30th June.
Some ten days were wasted because of the floods in central Assam's two districts and all three districts in southern Assam's Barak Valley, claimed NRC officials.
The first draft NRC, which was published on 31 December 2018, had 1.9 crore names from the 3.29 crore applicants.