2019 NRC LIST AND ITS HISTORY
ASSAM – ONE OF THE SEVEN SISTERS:
Assam is one of the northeastern states i.e. is so-called one of the seven sisters. Currently, it has been in the tussle i.e. are people of the state are facing the problem of citizenship. Even our former chief justice Ranjan Gogoi is from the state of Assam. The NRC exercise was first carried out in Assam as per Supreme Court orders.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi described Assam as an ancient land unrivalled in its beauty and endowed with diversity. “A meeting place of many races and ethnic groups each contributing to the rich tapestry of cultures, languages.”
NATIONAL REGISTER FOR CITIZENS OF INDIA:
During the 1951 census under a directive of the Ministry of Home Affairs, a National Register of Citizens was prepared which consists of the information of the each and every person of all the villages.
The word national register of Indian citizens is defined under section 2 of the citizenship rules 2003 (The citizenship Act 1955) as the register containing details of Indian Citizens living in India and outside India. The Registrar General of Citizen Registration establishes and maintains the National Register of Indian Citizens.
Rule 4A of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 says:
- Nothing in rule 4 shall, on and after the commencement of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizenship and Issue of National Identity Cards) Amendment Rules, 2009, apply to the State of Assam.
- The Central Government shall, for the purpose, of the National Register of Indian Citizens in the State of Assam, cause to carry out throughout the State of Assam for preparation of the National Register of Indian Citizens in the State of Assam by inviting applications from all the residents, for collection of specified particulars relating to each family and individual, residing in a local area in the State including the citizenship status based on the National Register of Citizens 1951, and the electoral rolls up to the midnight of the 24th day of March, 197l.
The above special provision rule 4A has been enshrined on the account of the provisions which are contained in the Section 6A of the act which are enumerated to grant the citizenship to persons covered by the Assam accord.
Section 6A (2) of the act says:
All persons of Indian origin who had come to the State of Assam before 1st day of January, 1966 from the specified territory (defined as territories included in Bangladesh) immediately before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985, including such persons whose names were included in the electoral rolls for purposes of the General Election to the House of the People held in 1967, and who have been ordinarily resident in Assam since the dates of their entry into Assam are deemed to be citizens of India as on and from 1st day of January, 1966.
Section 6A of the Act was inserted with effect from 7th December, 1985 by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985 which speaks about the special category of citizens in the State of Assam where Assam is defined as the territories which are included in the State of Assam immediately before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985.
ORIGIN OF THE MOVEMENT:
In 1979 a large influx to the state in other words illegal immigration to the state of Assam has led to the agitation or popular movement in the state. The Assam student union has played a major role in this movement. The union has demanded the government to solve the issue. But the Assamese politicians has failed to compel the central government to promote and to protect Assamese interests and this failure led to the rise of grassroots organisations which are formed for maintaining the status and position of the Assamese in Assam.
The AASU’s main demands are:
1. The detection of foreign nationals on the basis of the 1951 national register of citizens
2. The deportation of foreign nationals
In the meantime the elections are scheduled for the legislative assembly of Assam and AASU has campaigned for the postponement of the elections until the foreigner issue was resolved. Despite these demands and agitations the parliament has ignored the demands and decided to elect a new representative
So AASU has responded by protesting against the legitimacy of the elections which has resulted in a meeting between the central government and the AASU. And when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi met AASU she insisted that the cut off year is 1971 and not 1951 for determining the foreign national. But AASU insisted it as the cut off year should be 1951.
BIRTH OF NEW COUNTRY – BANGLADESH:
During 1948 and 1971, there were large scale migrations from East Pakistan i.e. Bangladesh to Assam. In the year 1971, a new nation has born named Bangladesh which has acquired independence from West Pakistan (Pakistan). There were a lot many movements and agitations in Bangladesh who is fighting for their independence and due to these agitations people have moved from Bangladesh to Assam (India).
So for this continuing influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh into Assam, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) has first submitted a memorandum to the then Prime Minister of India (in 1980).
ILLEGAL MIGRANTS ACT, 1983:
As a result of such representations, Parliament has enacted the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983. This Act was made applicable only to the state of Assam and was expected to be a measure which speeded up the determination of illegal migrants in the State of Assam with a view to their deportation.
But the people of Assam are not satisfied with this parliamentary measure so an accord was signed which is known as the “Assam Accord” on 15th August 1985 between the AASU, AAGSP and the Central and the State Governments.
NRC LIST 2019:
The Assam NRC list of 2019 which was published on August 31 in this year has excluded more than 19 lakh people from the final list among more than 3,30,27,661 people (3 core population) of the state.
So Assam government has notified setting up of 200 more appellate foreigners tribunals for hearing of appeals of people excluded from the final list.the facilities to be set up in all 33 districts of the state will be in addition to the existing 100 foreigners tribunals it also notified that the appeal against the exclusion from the NRC within 120 days of the publication of the final list.
A draft version of the NRC released in July has excluded more than 40 Lakh people in other words 12.15% of the state’s population. And in the list which has been published online, that number came down to 19 lakh and in future, it may be reduced if the citizenship has been proved before the foreign tribunals which are the quasi-judicial bodies. Those who want to file appeals can stay back in the country and the rest has been shipped off to the country’s first detention centre in Goalpara district of Assam.
India has defended its move to compile an NRC in Assam before the UNHRC stating it as a transparent move. One of the diplomats has stated that NRC is a statutory, transparent and non-discriminatory legal process which is being monitored by the supreme court.
AIM OF THE NRC LIST
The Supreme Court-monitored citizen’s list exercise was aimed at determining who was born in Assam and who came from Bangladesh or other neighbouring regions. Those who can prove they were residents of Assam up to midnight on March 24, 1971 – a day before Bangladesh declared its independence from Pakistan – are considered citizens by the NRC. Many families fled across the border into India to live in Assam at the time.
WORDS OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE RANJAN GOGOI:
- The NRC is not a document of the moment. Nineteen lakh or 40 lakh is not the point… It is a base document for the future. A document on which we can determine future claims,”
- The NRC 2019 is an attempt to end the vicious cycles of violence and agitations in Assam over the presence of illegal foreigners,
- Chief Justice Gogoi explained the Assam NRC list of 2019 attempted to give some degree of certainty on illegal influx.
- He agreed that the final NRC list was “not without contestations”.
- He stated that the “idea of NRC was neither new or a novel idea and it had found expression as early as 1951.
- Current NRC is an attempt to update the 1951 NRC. Nothing more nothing less,”
CONFUSION AND CLARIFICATION:
The election commission has stated that the registered voters in the state of Assam who are not included in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not be marked “doubtful” and they can continue voting in the elections until a Foreigners’ tribunal takes a decision on their case. And also stated confirmed that registered voters left out of the revised citizens’ list will not be declared “doubtful” and can vote until they are deemed, foreigners.
Doubtful or “D” voters are a category in Assam whose citizenship is uncertain or under dispute. The category had been introduced by the Election Commission in 1997 while revising the voters’ list in the northeastern state.
The union home ministry Amith shah had clarified that the absence of names in the NRC does not amount to them being declared foreigners; they have a window to prove their citizenship before tribunals.
The exercise of the citizen’s list which is monitored by the Supreme Court was aimed at determining who was born in Assam and who came from Bangladesh or other neighbouring regions. Those who can prove they were residents of Assam up to midnight on March 24, 1971 — a day before Bangladesh declared its independence from Pakistan – are considered citizens by the NRC. Many families fled across the border into India to live in Assam at the time.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah told the Rajya Sabha that “the process of National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be carried out across the country and no one, irrespective of their religion, should be worried.”
The new idea was accepted by few states but few have refused to accept. It was also stated that there will be no any atmosphere of “confusion or fear” over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as it does not pose a threat to the citizenship of Indianseither based on the religion or based on the territory.
REFUSAL AND ACCEPTANCE OF THE STATES:
- Uttarakhand has accepted for this new proposal. The chief minister of Uttarakhand Rawat has stated that “Implementing NRC across the country is a good step. Uttarakhand has open international borders. So, NRC acquires more importance here and in other border states.”
- Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi has stated that the new proposal is a good move and we will implement that whenever the state requires adopting.
- Karnataka has also given a positive response towards this new move.
- But west Bengal has refused to accept the new change stating it is not the right time and our state is not going to accept this kind of moves anymore.