An estimated 4 million people living in a border area of India have been left off a controversial citizenship list designed stem the flood of illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, the majority of them Muslim. There are many people who did arrive before the cut-off date but do not have the requisite documentation to prove that; for instance, some because they went to other states when they migrated before shifting to Assam.
He said out of the 3,29,91,384 applicants, the names of 2,89,83,677 people had figured in the draft.
"On completion of verification of all applicants, the complete draft is being published", the government said in a statement.
Proponents of the registry say it will help root out illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, but the move has prompted fears of possible deportation among Assam's hundreds of thousands of Bengali-speaking Muslims.
"The NRC [National Register of Citizens] is trying to finish us off".
"I'm anxious about my future", said Saleha Begum, 40, a Barpeta resident who was born in Assam but was not on the list.
National Register of Citizens (NRC) officials check the names of the residents in the final list at a NRC Sewa Kendra (NSK). He said he was devastated to see families separated and people kept in "jails" indefinitely, some of them over many years.
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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.
Not surprisingly, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has taken a stand against the exercise. "We are going to fight it out". "The BJP denies any bias but says it opposes a policy of appeasement of any community".
The state coordinator of the NRC, Prateek Hajela said that those people whose names were there in the first draft of NRC published in December 31, 2017, but had failed to make it to the final draft of the NRC will get opportunity to file claims and objection during August 7 to September 28 this year.
"So, there is no need to create any panic since it's a very sensitive issue", he said. "I want to assure all that there is no need for any apprehension or fear".
"This is just a draft and not the final list" India's census commissioner Sailesh, who uses only one name, told reporters in Guwahati, the state's principal city. Launching a stinging attack on the government, the Trinamool Congress chief said people were being made refugees in their own country and warned against "playing with fire". The first NRC draft identified 1.9 crore people as Indian citizens. 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.