MPs, MLAs find their names missing from Assam citizens registry

Villagers walk past Central Reserve Police Force personnel patrolling a road ahead of the publication of the first draft of the National Register of Citizens in the Juria village of Nagaon district in Assam

Assam has long struggled to curb immigration from neighbouring Bangladesh and is the only Indian state to compile a register of citizens.

The police FIR sparked an angry response from the Trinamool Congress(TMC) which said such an action would not stop her from fighting for the cause of the Bengalis while the BJP accused Banerjee of trying to make an "issue out of an non-issue" for reaping political dividends.

"No one will be victimised on the basis of caste and community".

In Assam, BJP legislator Shiladitya Dev from middle Assam's Hojai assembly alleged that several illegal Bangladeshi person names were also included in the first draft. With Assam being pivotal to the BJP's growth strategy in the northeast, the Sarbananda Sonowal government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the smooth execution of the NRC project. Recently, the Supreme Court of India granted the use of verified Gram Panchayat certificates as the proof of citizenship, but still many Indians are waiting to be counted as one. Those who will be found to be illegal immigrants after the final list will also be treated humanely.

On Monday, people flocked to seva kendras across Assam in large numbers to check whether they figured in the list containing the names of those who were recognised as citizens of India in the Supreme Court-monitored exercise, hours after the document was released at midnight.

The massive exercise, aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state that borders Bangladesh, is being carried out in Assam following a decision in 2005 after a series of meetings between the central and state governments and the influential All Assam Students' Union (AASU).

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Experts urged people to be patient with the process even as the first draft was released amid tight security cover of 45,000 paramilitary and state police personnel. More than 855 indigenous agitators and hundreds of suspected illegal migrants from Bangladesh were killed during the Assam Agitation between 1979 and 1985.

“We have been appealing that the people should not get excited and wait for the second draft to be published, ” Ajmal said in front of the Parliament House.

This move to register the names by the government has been praised by the opposition as well.

When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens then.

"I warn the BJP government at the Centre not to play with fire".

"As per the monthly report of disposal of cases in FTs of Assam, 19,612 "D" voters were declared foreigners till Oct, 2017", the Minister of State for Home Affairs said in Lok Sabha. "This is going to be the only constitutional safeguard for the indigenous people of the state", he said.

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