Guwahati : More than 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was published on Saturday to conclude a Supreme Court-monitored exercise that took five years and Rs 1220 crore.
According to rights groups, the exercise also made people in Assam – mostly Hindus and Muslims of Bengal origin under suspicion of being illegal immigrants – spend more than Rs 7,800 crore on hearings, besides claiming the lives of around 60 people.
Four of them were killed in police firing during a pilot project in western Assam’s Barpeta in July 2010, a few died in accidents during trips to the NRC service centres for hearings, while the rest allegedly died of shock and anxiety because of the fear of becoming stateless.
At the stroke of 10 a.m., the NRC authority headed by the apex court-appointed State Coordinator Prateek Hajela released the final NRC on its official website and through its social media handles. The event, thus, was more low-key than the release of the draft NRC on July 30, 2018, by Registrar General of India Shailesh and Joint Director (Northeast) in the Ministry of Home Affairs Satyendra Garg.
State Home Department officials said though the NRC was called ‘final’, the 19,06,657 people excluded would have opportunities to be back on the citizens’ list if they appeal against their exclusion and establish their citizenship via courts.
Each excluded person will have 120 days to file an appeal at any of the existing 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals — 200 more are to be established within a month — which in turn will have to dispose of the cases within six months. The appellant then has the option of approaching the High Court and Supreme Court.