In the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published earlier this week, only 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore who had submitted documents for verification made the cut. The final draft is to be completed by the end of this year under Supreme Court monitoring.

The exclusions are interesting. In the same family, some are in, some out. The names of many prominent personalities, including MPs and MLAs, are missing. This state of affairs points to the enormity of the task. The commission appointed for this purpose is looking at over six crore documents.

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Assam is the only state in the country that produced a list of citizens based on the 1951 census. Others didn’t see the need. In Assam, economic migrants had been coming in from erstwhile the East Bengal (then a part of India, subsequently East Pakistan, and now Bangladesh) since the early part of the 20th century. The anti-foreigners’ agitation in Assam demanded the expulsion of foreigners, defined in terms of the 1985 Assam Accord as those who entered the state before March 24, 1971. The current verification exercise is being done in light of this.

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Regrettably, the BJP has treated Hindu migrants to Assam as refugees and is inclined to give Indian citizenship even to those who came after the cutoff date. On the other hand, the Muslims migrating after 1971 are to be deemed aliens. This is discriminatory and may pose legal problems. When the exercise is completed, where will the “foreigners” be sent after being in this country for generations? #KhabarLive

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