Embassy of India
Press Release on National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, India
1. The office of the State Coordinator, NRC, Assam released a press statement on August 31, 2019 on the publication of the final NRC as on August 31, 2019.
2. Since then, there have been commentaries in sections of the foreign media about aspects of the final NRC which are incorrect.
3. As a background, it may be recalled that Government of India signed the Assam Accord in 1985 between the Government of India, State Government of Assam, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and All Assam Gan Sangram Parishad (AAGSP). Later, Supreme Court of India mandated the government to deliver on the commitment in 2013, which led to the process of updating the National Register of Citizens in Assam in 2015.
4. Therefore, updating of NRC is a statutory, transparent, legal process mandated by the Supreme Court of India. This is not an executive-driven process. The process is being monitored by the Supreme Court directly and the government is acting in accordance with the directives issued by the Court, as per the deadlines set by the Supreme Court.
5. In this NRC process, “application” are received from individuals, rather than “house to house enumeration”. As per this scientific process, any person in Assam, could seek to be included in the list on the basis of having documentary proof of lineage from an entitled person, i.e. a person who was a resident of Assam as on March 24, 1971.
6. The application form is non-discriminatory without any bias or injustice. There is also no discrimination based on religion as the applicant are not asked for the same.
7. There is a clear process to appeal in more than 500 designated Tribunals against any exclusion within 120 days of receiving a notification to that effect. All these 500 Trilands will be set up by December 2019 at Block Level for the convenience of applicant. This judicial process of the Tribunal will commence only after the appellate period is over. Thereafter, anyone still aggrieved by any decision of being excluded will have the right to approach the High Court of Assam and then the Supreme Court.
8. Moreover, exclusion from the NRC has no implication on the rights of an individual resident in Assam. They will not be detained or deprived of any rights or privileges or make him/her a foreigner or Stateless till they have exhausted all the remedies available under the law.
9. The government of India as well as Government of Assam will provide all legal assistance through the District Legal Service Authorities, as well as provide legal aid to the needy.
10. India, as the world’s largest democracy, has firmly enshrined ‘equal rights for all’ and ‘respect for the rule of law’ in its Constitution. An independent judiciary and fully autonomous state institutions, working for the defence of human rights, are an integral part of our political fabric and traditions. Any decision that is taken during the process of implementation of the NRC, will be within the four corners of the Indian law and consistent with India’s democratic traditions.
03 September 2019