NRC draft leaves out four million people in Assam

A little over 4 million people in Assam, out of the 32.9 million in the state who applied to be included in the National Register of Citizens, have been left out of the complete draft of the contentious document released, although both the central and the state government were at pains to point out that the register is still a draft and that there is adequate recourse available to those not included.

The NRC, which was first prepared for Assam in 1951, is being updated at the insistence of the Supreme Court, although it has been a longstanding demand of most political organisations in the state. The register is aimed at distinguishing the state’s citizens from illegal immigrants, mostly from Bangladesh. The first draft of the updated NRC, released on December 31 last year, listed 19 million people.

In Delhi, the central government said there is no need to panic and that those excluded from the draft will not be declared foreigners immediately, as such powers are vested only with tribunals.

Political opponents of the BJP government in the state and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre were quick to find fault with the exercise.

Ahead of the publication of the list, there were fears that most of those excluded would be from the minority community.

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