ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Destiny of Immigrants in Assam

National Register of Citizens

Updated under the close scrutiny of the Supreme Court, the release of the first part of the draft National Register of Citizens for Assam has been long-awaited by the indigenous people in the state. The process, however, has been plagued by constitutional and legal hurdles that have questioned the validity of citizenship and heightened political differences on the issue. Amidst this larger debate, the fate of illegal migrants remains undetermined.

The author acknowledges the assistance received from University Grants Commission’s Special Assistance Programme granted to the Department of Political Science, Gauhati University in developing the present article.

The release of the first part of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam on 31 December 2017 did not bring much jubilation to the people of the state. The partial draft, incorporating names of only 1.90 crore persons out of 3.29 crore applicants, despite the looming deadline for a full draft, has upset many people and evoked strong reactions from the Bengali-dominated districts of the Barak Valley (Telegraph 2018). The NRC, touted as the most authentic effort to detect illegal migrants in the state, has been a long-awaited aspiration of the indigenous people of Assam. The disappointment over the partial release of the register was exacerbated by the systematic attempts by the incumbent union government (having both religious and linguistic overtones) to facilitate new waves of immigration, with guaranteed citizenship, by amending the Citizenship Act of 1955. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 intends to remove the tag of “immigrants” from relevant rules under the Foreigners Act, 1946 for six religious minorities: Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. One can sense the disappointment and even anguish in the state, by looking at the day-to-day political developments which have unfolded in the run up to the release of the NRC.

Amending Citizenship

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Updated On : 23rd Feb, 2018
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