New Delhi: With less than a week left for the National Register of Citizens to be published in Assam on August 31, Union home ministry has once again reiterated to the state government to ensure that no genuine citizen is harassed and all possible assistance be provided to those whose names are left out in the NRC exercise.
Senior officials who are closely monitoring the situation with the state administration have conveyed to the latter that since it has already been decided to extend the period for filing appeals before foreigners tribunals from 60 to 120 days, the authorities must ensure that such people are not harassed by the security forces or other agencies.
A senior official said that they had already instructed the state authorities to take precautions for ensuring that people who do not make it to the NRC, which is to be published on August 31, are neither detained or sent to any detention center till their status is decided by a foreigners tribunal.
“We have also asked the state agencies to ensure that every person in Assam is clearly informed that only the foreigners tribunals were authorised or empowered to declare a person as foreigner. Therefore, people whose names are left out of the NRC should not panic and the state must ensure that all possible legal assistance is provided to them in approaching the foreigners tribunals. The Centre is very clear that non-inclusion of a person’s name in NRC does not by itself amount to him or her being declared as a foreigner,’’ a senior official added.
Union home minister Amit Shah had a prolonged meeting with Assam chief minister Sarbanand Sonowal and other senior officials last week to review the progress of NRC and assess any possible fallout of the exercise aimed at identifying illegal migrants in Assam.
Although adequate security forces have been deployed in Assam as the date for final publication draws closer, officials anticipate that there may not be any large-scale violence post the publication.