New Delhi: The much-awaited updated Final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was released on Saturday, excluding names of over 19 lakh applicants.
A total of 3,30,27,661 people had applied to be included in the NRC. Of them, 3,11,21,004 have been included in the document and 19,06,657 excluded, a statement from the NRC State Coordinator's office said.
The list, second since 1951, is an exercise to identify legal citizens of India and weed out illegal immigrants from Assam.
The final National Register of Citizens or NRC was published on http://www.nrcassam.nic.in at 10 am and the hard copies of the Supplementary List of Inclusions was made available for public viewing at the NRC Seva Kendras (NSK) and Circle Offices on Saturday.
The government has reassured that those excluded from the register won't mean they would be labelled foreigners automatically. The government also advised people of Assam to ignore rumours.
Those missing from the final NRC will get a window of 10 months to prove their citizenship before being sent to detention centres, Assam’s Additional Chief Secretary in-charge of Home and Political departments, Kumar Sanjay Krishna said.
In a bid to allay panic, the Centre had extended the time limit, for those excluded, to file an appeal in the Foreigners Tribunal from 60 to 120 days.
The Home Ministry had also increased the number of tribunals by at least 1,000 to hear disputed cases.
The government also made it clear that no one can be put in detention centres until all legal options were exhausted. If one loses the case in the tribunal, the individual can approach the high court and then the Supreme Court.
The final Assam's citizenship was up online at 10 am on Saturday ''and those who do not have internet connections can go to Seva Kendras set up by the state government to check their status," a senior officer in the Home Ministry told the media.
In anticipation of public unrest, security was tightened and large assemblies and use of loudspeakers were banned.
An additional 20,000 paramilitary forces were also sent to Assam by the Centre.
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was imposed in several parts of the state ahead of the release of the final draft of the NRC.
The first draft list (Assam) was released last year, leaving out over 40 lakh people who were told to prove their citizenship.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was first published in Assam in 1951 and has been updated since 2015 as per the directions of the Supreme Court in an attempt to deport illegal migrants from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.