India strips 4 million of citizenship

India’s striping 4m of citizenship her internal matter says Dhaka

"There are reports pouring in from all corners of Assam, of Indian citizens finding their names missing in the draft NRC, creating massive insecurity in the state", Rahul Gandhi, president of the Congress party, wrote on Facebook.

A full-blown political row has erupted ever since the final draft of Assam's NRC was published on Monday. While talking to reporters in Kolkata, the High Commissioner also said this issue has not been raised at the official level by the government of India with the Bangladesh government at any stage and mentioned that he will not interfere in an internal matter.

Asked about the legal status of these 40 lakh people who did not make it to the final draft, Ministry of Home Affairs joint secretary (northeast) Satyendra Garg, who was in Guwahati, said: "Those left out can file claims and objections".

The first list of the NRC process was released in December 31 previous year, in which around 1.9 crore people out of the total applications of 3.29 crore people were included.

It was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 where names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated.

Sonowal said NRC is a national programme and it is the duty and obligation of every Indian citizen to ensure its successful completion. "But the fact of the matter is that there is no illegal immigrant from Bangladesh in India".

Assam has witnessed prolonged protests against so-called foreigners, which includes both Hindus and Muslims.

"The global community is fighting to stop a process that is alarmingly on track to potentially render millions of people stateless, and vulnerable to indefinite detention, violence or worse", said Ricken Patel, Avaaz executive director.

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Rights groups have criticised the government's latest move, saying the deletion of people from citizenship rolls was similar to Myanmar's removal of rights and protections for its Rohingya community in 1982. NRC chief Prateek Hajela, whose office has processed 66 million documents and spent almost $180 million in the whole NRC process, declined comment on the religion of people who would be removed from the register.

"There is no question of any coercive action against anyone", said Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

"It's just Muslims who will likely have to go through a complicated, unfair appeal with no right to counsel, ending in no hope of staying if they lose", Ricken Patel, Avaaz executive director, said.

About 29 million people have been found eligible for inclusion in the citizenship document from around 33 million applicants, he said.

"Whatever work is going on in the NRC, is happening under the supervision of the Supreme Court". He also allayed fears among a section of people, insisting "there is no need to panic as it is not the final NRC".

"I demand that all the parties should clarify their stand on the issue".

It asked Centre to formulate modalities and Standard Operating Procedures, including timelines for deciding the claims and objections arising out of the publication of the draft NRC.

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