The list of Assam citizens

The much-awaited draft National Register of Citizens was released at the stroke of midnight on Sunday amid tight security across Assam.

Of the 3.29 crore applicants, 1.9 crore have found place in the first draft of NRC as bona fide citizens after verification of their claims, registrar general and census commissioner Sailesh said here. The verification process for the remaining 1.39 crore applications will continue and the final NRC will be completed in 2018, he added.

The release marked the culmination of a mammoth exercise involving documentation and verification of legacy data covering the electoral rolls of 1951-66 and 1971.

Hailing the publication of the draft as a “historic moment” for the state, the Sarbananda Sonowal government said the updated citizen list would ensure that the rights of genuine Indian citizens are protected. “The entire exercise has been done under the supervision of the Supreme Court. Release of the draft is a historic moment,” CM Sonowal said.

The NRC update exercise has been going on for two years now, seeking to identify legal citizens and put the illegal migrant issue, which has rocked the state since 1979, to rest. BJP had promised to identify and deport all “illegal citizens” in the run-up to the assembly election of 2016.

“All 2,500 seva kendras across the state have been activated to assist people in tracing their names in the draft NRC. Besides, SMS services, toll-free phone lines and online portals are also in place,” state coordinator for the NRC update process Prateek Hajela said at a press conference.

Urging people not to panic in case their names do not appear, Sonowal said the final NRC would not exclude a single genuine Indian citizen. “If any name is left out of the first draft, there is provision to submit claims and objections. The government will extend its full assistance to address such grievances,” he added.

To avoid any escalation of tension due to rumours, the government is keeping an eye on social media. “If someone is found to be spreading misinformation, strict action will be taken against that person. People should stay alert against divisive forces. If someone tries to foment trouble, it will be treated as anti-national activity and action will be taken against these anti-social elements,” Sonowal said.

AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal urged people to be patient until the final draft. “We are looking forward to a final and foolproof NRC. Till that happens, everyone has the responsibility to maintain peace and harmony,” he said.

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