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India effectively strips four million people of citizenship in Assam

30 July 2018

The Assam government will release the second and final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) at 10:00 am today, amid tight security.

Suban was seated with his wife at their house a few hundred meters from a vast paddy field where, in 1983, scores of people were chased down and killed by machete-armed mobs intent on hounding out Muslim immigrants.

States sharing border with Assam were also on high alert to thwart possible infiltration of illegal immigrants.

Soldiers stood guard at government offices, where thousands of people queued to check their names on the so-called National Register of Citizens (NRC), Reuters witnesses said.

The Assam controversy comes as the government looks at amending the citizenship law to allow certain "persecuted minorities", including Hindus and Christians from neighbouring countries, to obtain legal status after six years of residency in India. More than 70 people died and a bunch of pleas reached the Supreme Court thereafter.

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Hundreds of thousands of people fled to India from Bangladesh during Bangladesh's war of independence from Pakistan in the early 1970s - and a lot of them settled in Assam.

Singh said the NRC was being demanded in Assam for a long time and the previous state government had set up foreign tribunals following the Supreme Court order.

The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power on the promise to expel the so-called "illegal foreigners" and protect the rights of indigenous groups.

Over 40 lakh people in Assam have been left out from the the NRC, which is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam. Majority settled in Assam.

Migrants have since been accused of illegally entering the state and taking land and jobs, causing tensions with locals. "It's just vote politics by BJP".

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"For this remarkable feat, I extend my heartiest congratulations to the 55,000 officials engaged in NRC updation process and the people living across the Barak and Brahmaputra valleys, plains and hills of the state", he said. "Divide and rule will finish the country", she said.

Political activists in Assam say most of those are Bengali-speaking Muslims.

Asking the opposition to list out what role the government has played in the NRC, Singh said, "It is a sensitive issue and should not be politicised unnecessarily".

The first draft comprising the names of 2,89,83,677 people of Assam was published online by the Registrar General of India. Apart from that, there are around 1.25 D-voters and more than 1.31 lakh cases have been pending in Foreigners' Tribunals in Assam. But the NRC told India's top court this month that it would drop 150,000 people from that list - a third of them married women - mainly because they had provided false information or inadmissible documents. "Terrible things happened to our family once, we don't want a repeat".

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India effectively strips four million people of citizenship in Assam