Home Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday asserted that the government is committed to complete the NRC process in Assam within the stipulated time and will ensure that no foreigner is included or any Indian citizen excluded. He also said the home ministry wants that the National Register of Citizens, a list of Assam's residents, is completed with fairness and for this the state government has been provided with all necessary assistance, including funds.
"Our government is committed to complete the update of NRC within the stipulated time so that no foreigner is included in it and no Indian is left out," he told PTI here. His comments came hours after the Supreme Court came down heavily on the government, saying it is not cooperating in the NRC process and seems the entire effort of the home ministry is to destroy the exercise.
The court also reiterated that the July 31, 2019 deadline for the completion of NRC exercise will not be extended. The home minister said the central government has also sent paramilitary forces to Assam so that law and order is maintained while completing the huge task of the NRC process.
He said it is the NDA government which has expedited the process of the update of the NRC, which has been pending for 30 years ever since the Assam Accord was signed in 1985. It was expedited by the NDA government and the present BJP government in Assam in a manner that the NRC process has reached the final stage, he said.
Singh said the final draft of the NRC was published on July 30, 2018 and the claims and objections process completed by December 31, 2018. There has been a huge controversy over the exclusion of 40 lakh people from the draft NRC, which included the names of 2.9 crore people out of the total applications of 3.29 crore.
The NRC exercise, aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state that borders Bangladesh, was carried out only in Assam, which faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century. When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens.
As per the 2011 census, Assam's total population is over 3.11 crore. The process of identification of illegal immigrants in Assam has been widely debated and become a contentious issue in the state's politics. A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) in 1979.
It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in the presence of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.