NRC is the National Register of Citizens. This is a law that the BJP government plans to use throughout India after it was used on a small scale in Assam. Assam, as a being border state of India, has suffered a lot due to illegal immigrants. The first Assam NRC was created in 1951, but it did not stay well. In 1983, the government approved another act to identify illegal immigrants, but the Supreme Court overturned it because it was against the constitution. The Assam NRC updates were used by the current BJP government in August 2019, but the results were disappointing.
In NRC, all citizens of India have to prove their citizenship by tracking the required documents up to the limit year given by the government. If someone cannot present the required documents, they will be considered illegal immigrants. When NRC was used in Assam, most people were unable to produce these documents because they lost their documents in the flood series.
How is NRC going to help India?
- NRC will only formulate a newly updated registry of genuine Indian citizens living in the state of Assam. Its deadline is July 31, 2019.
- After this, the main job would be to deport illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, both Muslim and Hindu, to Bangladesh. For this, India should also make arrangements with the Bangladeshi government. Currently, there is no news of such precedence.
- As the work of the NRC is strictly followed in accordance with the orders of the Supreme Court, the Government of India would need to adhere to all future developments related to the implementation of the NRC as a whole.
- There is an effort by the central government to pass a contentious bill: the citizenship bill (amendment). With this bill, the government proposes granting citizenship to religious minorities such as Hindus who had fled Bangladesh and who have been living in Assam illegally for all these years! As those names of illegal Hindus are also found in the current draft of the NRC published last year, the Center strived to omit those names by approving the last budget session of the 2016 Citizenship Law (Amendment) in early 2019, But in vain! Now that bill has expired in Parliament and needs to be presented again. The Assamese people have vehemently opposed the Draconian bill, as it would completely dilute the soul of the NRC.
- NRC as citizen registration is certainly required in two states as soon as possible: West Bengal and Tripura. There are more than 3 to 5 million rupees supposedly illegal from Bangladesh in those two states alone. Tripura is flooded with Hindu Bangladeshis and West Bengal with Muslim Bangladeshis.
- The aggrieved Indian citizens living in those states must rise to pressure the Government and the Supreme Court of India to have legislation in line with the Assam NRC.
What is Assam NRC?
First, the NRC in Assam was held in 1951, just after the National Census. Said NRC had some pending problems of foreigners who entered the list. To rectify the list, the update process of Assam NRC began in 2013 under the supervision of the Supreme Court of Justice of India. A preliminary list was published on December 31, 2017, and the final list was published on July 30, 2018. In the final list, more than Rs 40,000 were not included in the NRC list. Then, the Supreme Court under the direct supervision of the President of the Supreme Court of India issued some guidelines and ordered the NRC Commission to review once more and rectify the list.
The entire NRC (Assam) has been a complex procedure aimed at finding a judicial solution to a political problem. The problem begins with the influx of a large number of people from eastern Pakistan (later known as Bangladesh) after the wars of 1965 and 1971. This resulted in turmoil throughout Assam that ended with the signing of the “Assam Agreement” in 1985
The Assam Agreement divides illegal immigrants from Bangladesh by inserting SECTION 6A of the Citizenship Act of 1955 into three categories.
- Those who arrived in the state before 1966.
- Those who arrived in the state between 1966 and March 25, 1971
- Those who arrived in the state on March 25, 1971.
The first group (prior to 1966) should be regularized (given the citizenship of India). The second group (1966-25 March 1971) had to be removed from the electoral list and regularized after 10 years. The third group (March 25, 1971, onwards) was to be expelled from the country.
Drawback Of NRC
This is the main problem with NRC: there is a possibility that someone has lost documents from their ancestors or theirs due to some circumstances. All our ancestors were not so polite to produce and keep such documents. Some people still do not have enough education to create these documents. In addition, the government is ready to make documents of immigrants who are obtaining citizenship against CAA but are declaring their citizens illegal because they do not have some old documents that make no sense. If you are from a non-Muslim community, you can obtain citizenship of India under the Citizenship Amendment Act, even if NRC considers you an immigrant. But CAA excludes Muslims who take away all their rights.
This agreement was made on purpose to balance India’s foreign policy with domestic policy. On the one hand, India had to do something about people entering India from eastern Pakistan, but on the other hand, protecting the tribal culture of the northeastern states. In 1983, Parliament enacted the Illegal Immigrants Act (determination by the court) (IMDT Law). This Law was especially for the State of Assam, while the entire country had the Foreigners Act of 1946.