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15,000 foreigners to be stuck off NRC

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Prateek Hajela

29,000 Bangladeshis who had entered Assam during the period from 1966 to March 24, 1971 were detected. Of them, 15,000 detected or declared foreigners did not register themselves with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office as per rules. Many among them have now applied for inclusion of their names in the NRC

STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, June 21: At a time when the deadline for the publication of the complete draft NRC is approaching, and despite reports that the NRC may not be published on June 30, the authorities coordinating the draft finalization work of the NRC have decided to be rather strict with reference to the inclusion of names of 15,000 individuals.

This applies to those foreigners who came to Assam during the period from 1966 to March 24, 1971 but did not get themselves registered as per rules with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO).

The FRRO is the primary agency, functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which regulates the registration, movement, stay, departure, and also for recommending the extension of stay of foreigners in India.

As per rules, such immigrants should have themselves registered within three months after detection, but this period was subsequently extended to six months. Moreover, the names of such people would not be included in the electoral rolls for the next 10 years. In other words, such people would not enjoy any voting rights during that decade. Nevertheless, their names would automatically be included in the electoral rolls following the expiry of the mandatory 10-year period. However, they could very well reside within the State during this phase.

These provisions are also mentioned in the relevant sections of the Assam Accord.

According to sources, the fact remains that altogether 29,000 Bangladeshis who had entered Assam during the period from 1966 to March 24, 1971 were detected. Of them, 15,000 detected or declared foreigners did not register themselves with the FRRO. Sources said many among them have now applied for inclusion of their names in the NRC.

Talking to The Sentinel, State Coordinator of NRC Prateek Hajela said, “As per rules, we’ll have to leave out the names of the individuals not registered with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office.” Adding that if any among them have applied for inclusion of their names in the NRC, Hajela pointed out: “They are not eligible as they have violated the relevant portions of the Citizenship Act related to the State of Assam. Our main aim is to ensure a foreigners-free NRC, and there would not be any compromise on this regard.”

The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, mentions that the names of persons who came to the State after 1966 and before March 25, 1971 and got registered themselves with the FRRO, and who have not been declared as illegal migrants by the competent authority, will be eligible to be included in the consolidated list.