NRC exercise raises fear of genuine citizens being left out: CPI(M)

The CPI(M) on Saturday said the exclusion of over 19 lakh people from the NRC in Assam had raised fears of legitimate citizens being left out of the document. In a statement, the Politburo of the Left party said it was important now to ensure that all genuine citizens of the country, who had failed to make it to the list, were included. The publication of the final list of the National Register of Citizens in Assam has resulted in 19.06 lakh (over 1.9 million) persons to be excluded from the list. This huge number has roused legitimate fears that a large number of Indian citizens have been excluded, the statement read. It also listed the steps that should be taken to ensure that no legitimate citizens were left out. Firstly, the government should spell out what would be the status and rights of those who were excluded, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said. Till their appeals are heard and the process is completed, the status quo should be maintained with regard to their existing rights and facilities. In Assam, an all-party meeting must be convened to discuss the matter, it added. It further said while the procedure set out was that those excluded could apply to the designated foreigners tribunals within 120 days for their cases to be heard, these were not judicial bodies and functioned more like executive ones. Moreover, as per the rules, it will consider the merit of the application before deciding to admit it. The CPI(M) wants the right of appeal to be processed through a judicial mechanism. The foreigners tribunals are not adequate for this purpose, the Left party said. Thirdly, it said the present system of sending those declared as foreigners by the tribunals to detention camps had to be stopped as it was violative of the basic human rights. The updating of the NRC in Assam came about in specific historical and political circumstances. The CPI(M) is against the introduction of the NRC in the rest of India as the BJP government at the Centre intends to use this process for their divisive communal agenda for sharpening polarisation, it alleged. The updated final NRC, which validates bona fide Indian citizens of Assam, was released on Saturday, with the authority conducting the exercise shutting out the citizenship claims of over 19 lakh applicants, who now face an uncertain future.