Guwahati, August 20, 2019:

In the latest twist in the ‘tale of the NRC’ in Assam, it has been decided by the Central Government that if an individual’s name does not is not there in the NRC, he will not be automatically declared as a foreigner. This decision was taken in a meeting in New Delhi in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

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Earlier, on August 19, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah reviewed the issues related to final publication of the NRC.

The review meeting was attended by the Chief Minister of Assam, Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretary Assam and senior officers.

Extensive deliberations have been held on the issue between the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the state government of Assam in recent weeks.

It was decided that adequate arrangements will be made by the State government to provide full opportunity to the persons whose names have been excluded from the final NRC to appeal against their non-inclusion.

It is to be mentioned here that every individual, whose name does not figure in the final NRC, can represent his/her case in front of the appellate authority i.e. Foreigner Tribunals (FT). Under the provisions of Foreigners Act 1946 and Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964, only Foreigners Tribunals are empowered to declare a person as a foreigner. Thus, non-inclusion of a person’s name in NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared as a foreigner.

State government has agreed to set up adequate number of such tribunals at convenient locations. It has been decided that state government would also make arrangements to provide legal aid to the needy people amongst those excluded from NRC.

As it may not be possible for all those excluded from final NRC to file the appeal within the prescribed time, MHA will amend the rules to increase the present time limit of filing of appeals in FTs from 60 days to 120 days regarding exclusion from final NRC. The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 are also being amended accordingly.

In order to maintain law and order situation, central armed paramilitary forces are being provided for deployment as per assessment of the State government.

Over the past few days, NRC has been a matter of concern all over the state of Assam. While people have been rushing to the centres with documents to prove their citizenship, organisations, and activists have been demanding a 100 percent re-verification of the document.

Join us as we continue the awareness campaign to preserve the only Ramsar site in Assam which is facing immense threats (A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention). We need your help to preserve this site of great ecological importance. Join the #LetsSaveDeeporBeel campaign and tweet about it, and do tag us on Twitter. It is time to create awareness.


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