The Post NRC Scenario: What Might Happen After 31st August 2019?
GUWAHATI: The wait is over and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) secretariat is all set to publish the final NRC list on 31st August (today). But what thereafter? Confusion and apprehensiveness abound those applicants whose names were not listed in the first and final NRC draft list – their fate uncertain - and they are running from pillar to post trying to understand what they would need to do should their names not figure in the final NRC list.
A source working closely with the NRC secretariat, talking to G Plus said, “On 31st August the supplementary list would be published where the status of 40 lakh persons whose names had not figured in the draft NRC published on 31st July 2018 will be known.” The source also revealed that out of the 40 lakh applicants whose names did not appear in the draft list, only 36 lakh applicants had applied for claims and objections, the results of which would be published on 31st August.
After a long four years during which the Supreme Court of India monitored the exercise closely, anxiety levels are mounting. Around 40.7 lakh names were excluded from the draft NRC list published on July 31 2018 which increased to over 41 lakhs after an additional draft exclusion list was published on 26th June 2019 which dropped another 1 lakh names. A total of 3.29 had applicants applied out of which 2.9 crore names figured in the draft list. But after 31st August the actual picture will be clear and applicants will understand who are citizens and who are perhaps not.
The union home ministry has clarified that non-inclusion of a name in the NRC does not amount to him/her being declared a foreigner as the person will be allowed to present his/her case before the appellate foreigners’ tribunals. The state government has earlier clarified that those left out of the NRC will not be detained under any circumstances until the foreigners’ tribunals declare them as foreigners.
“Appeals can be made under Section 8 of schedule to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 and the time to file an appeal has been increased from 60 days to 120 days,” said the source working closely with the NRC secretariat.
The source also revealed that 1,000 tribunals have been sanctioned by the home ministry and will be established at convenient locations for speedy hearing of the appeals.
If one loses the case in a foreigners’ tribunal, one can move the High Court and after losing there, they can move the Supreme Court of India.
No one will be put in detention centres till all legal options are exhausted. The state government has also claimed that legal help will be provided to the needy people whose names are not listed in the NRC.
Over 4 lakh names are sure to be excluded as they did not apply for claims and objections after their names did not appear in the draft NRC list.
Commenting on applicants whose names will appear in the NRC, the source said, “The final NRC would be notified soon by the Registrar General of India,” adding that very likely the NRC will be notified on 7th September 2019.
Now there are many people who did not apply deliberately for NRC for various reasons. What will happen to them?
“After the Supreme Court orders fresh process for future NRC updation, the people who did not apply can apply for enlistment in the NRC,” said the source. But the source also revealed that any genuine citizen of Assam does not have to worry as they will not be put in the detention camps even if they did not apply. But it is expected for all genuine citizens to apply for the NRC process. The government, after the notification of the NRC, might announce various plans for people who are included in the NRC. So the people who are not in the list might not get those benefits.
An applicant whose name is not listed in the draft list, talking to G Plus asked, “Will I be sent to Bangladesh?”
The state is setting up detention centres exclusively for those who will be declared foreigners after all legal routes are exhausted. Deportation of such people is difficult as India and Bangladesh, so far, do not have any such pact.
Whatever happens there seems all possibility of a chaotic situation for the people who will be detained after all legal routes are exhausted. The entire process started in 1951 and a final shape will be given in 2019.
1951 to 2019
1951 – 1st census of free India organized and 1st NRC compiled based on census
1955 – Citizenship Act came into force setting rules for Indian citizenship
1971 – Bangladesh war leads to migration of refugees into India
1978 – AASU demanded election to be postponed till names of illegal foreigners were struck off electoral rolls
1979 – Assam agitation started
1983 – Nellie massacre kills many in Assam
1983 – Parliament passes Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act 1983
1985 – Assam Accord signed
2003 – Citizenship (Amendment) Act introduced
2005 - Supreme Court struck down Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act 1983 calling it unconstitutional
2008 – Assam Public Works moves Supreme Court alleging that there are many illegal foreigners in Assam voters’ list
2013 – SC calls for update of NRC
2015 – NRC updation process started
2017 – First draft list published
2018 – Final NRC draft list published
2019 – Final NRC list to be published
NRC in numbers
Total NRC applicants – 3.29 crores
Names excluded from draft list – 41 lakhs
Names included in draft list – 2.9 crores
Names excluded from Final list- 19,06,657 lakh
Cost of NRC updation process – Rs 1,200 crores
Government employees engaged – 40,000
Contractual workers used – 8,200