Assam will release the second and the final draft of the state’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) on Monday

The NRC will be released online and in all the NRC Sewa Kendras (NSK) across the state at 10am. Here’s all you need to know about it: 

What is National Register of Citizens and why is it being updated?

The National Register of Citizens is an exercise which was first carried out in 1951 to enumerate the citizens, their houses and holdings. Over the years, there has been a demand from the indigenous Assamese groups to update the NRC. A pilot project was initiated at two places in 2010. In Barpeta, police action on an anti-NRC protest led to four deaths and the project was shelved. It resumed after Cant order from the Supreme Court.

Who is a citizen in Assam?

Post the Assam agitation against ‘foreigners’, and the subsequent Assam Accord signed in 1985 between the government of India and the All Assam Students Union, the Citizenship Act, 1955, was amended. All Indian-origin people, including from Bangladesh who entered Assam before January 1, 1966, were deemed as citizens; those who came between January 1, 1966 and March 25 1971 could get citizenship after registering themselves and living for 10 years; and those who entered after March 25, 1971 were to be deported.

How is the NRC being updated?

People had to submit a form quoting legacy code, basically a PNR kind of unique code to establish their family or parental linkage before the cut-off date. Legacy documents include the electoral rolls up to March 25, 1971 and the 1951 NRC. Apart from the legacy documents, one could also furnish 12 other documents.

Is the verification of documents enough to make your entry into NRC?

For Original Inhabitants of Assam, the verification was done less vigorously. However, for the rest, as Prateek Hajela, the state coordinator, says “mere documentary evidence is not the end of it. If there is a contradiction, which is appearing through some other means of verification, that also has to be properly explained”.

Which categories of people face exclusion from the updated list of the NRC?

Those who have been declared foreigners and their descendants will be out of the NRC, those who have been marked as Doubtful voters or suspected illegal immigrants and their descendants, and those whose cases are pending in the foreigners tribunals and their descendants will be kept on hold till their cases are cleared by the foreigners tribunals.

Does not having your name make you stateless or an illegal immigrant?

No. They can file claims against the decision on a prescribed form. However, there are misgivings for in many instances they will again be submitting the same document which has been rejected in the initial rounds of verification.

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