Communist Party of India (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has demanded a judicial mechanism for people who were excluded from the final National Register for Citizens (NRC) list, instead of moving to Foreigners Tribunal. Yechury said that people who were excluded from the NRC list published on Saturday, have been given the right to appeal, instead of moving to Foreigners Tribunal. Yechury stated the people excluded from the list should not be sent to detention camps. He further stated that people in these camps are made to live under inhuman conditions and virtually have no rights.
Yechury further stated, “The Foreigners Tribunal is not a judicial authority; it is an executive body that functions under the government. I do not expect that any justice will be done by the Foreigners Tribunal. We want a judicial mechanism to be set up which will pursue all the appeals. The mechanism will take the correct decision on the basis of that.”
“This is a big human tragedy; more than 19 lakh people are facing statelessness. They are not the citizens of Assam according to the NRC final list. Government has not specified the excluded person’s status. What we demand is that these people should be allowed to continue living there till their appeal is disposed of by the judicial authority,” Yechury added.
A total of 3.29 crore people had applied for the NRC, with just over 3.11 crore making it to the final list. The final list of the NRC in Assam was published on Saturday with close to 19 lakh people being excluded from the list. Those excluded can now approach the High Courts and the Supreme Court, with the Foreigners Tribunal being the only agency that can deem someone a foreigner. This exclusion of 19 lakhs is a major decrease from the previous exclusion of 40 lakhs in the second draft published in July 2018.
The NRC was first prepared in 1951 under the purview of the Census Act, 1948. A process to update the list was started in 2013 and ended with the receipt of forms by the NRC authorities on August 31, 2015. The process is aimed at separating genuine Indian citizens from undocumented immigrants living in Assam. As per the NRC terms, a resident has to prove that they or their ancestors entered Assam before midnight on March 24, 1971. Anyone failing to do so will be declared a foreigner.
(Inputs from ANI)