NRC- A Fragile Exercise

Context:

Assam Accord was inked in 1985, however the Centre took over three decades to make even a token show of implementing the important clauses in it.

Highlights:

  • Clause V- states that “Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 shall continue to be detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law. Immediate and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.”
  • BJP government took initiative of  settling the foreign infiltration problem  by updating  the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
  • Update to  determine exactly how many people in Assam were Indian citizens and how many had illegally entered from Bangladesh after the cut-off year of 1971, and earmarked Rs 1,600 crore for the exercise.
  • No doubt the update, published in August, 2019, with just over 19 lakh people presumed to be illegal foreigners, was something of a letdown. (Till now actual determination is pending).
  •  Assam has had 100 regular Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) since 2009 to try the cases of suspected foreigners referred by the Border wing of the Assam Police, and these were augmented by setting up 200 additional FTs, to be aided by 2000 assistants, to expedite the process.
  • BJP Government later highlighted that the NRC was defective and pleaded for a review in Supreme Court.
  • Naturally, the lack of will on their part has resulted in the updated NRC becoming nobody’s baby!