The government has not taken any decision yet to conduct a nationwide exercise to prepare the National Register of Citizens, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
During the Monsoon Session of Parliament too, Rai had made the same statement.
The National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise to identify undocumented immigrants. However, its critics fear that the Citizenship Amendment Act, clubbed with the National Register of Citizens, will be misused to target Muslims in the country. The Citizenship Act introduced a religious criteria to Indian citizenship for the first time by allowing undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh to apply for Indian citizenship.
The passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act sparked off massive protests in India. After this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said there had been no discussions on nationwide National Register of Citizens.
However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had linked the Citizenship Act with a proposal to create a nationwide register of citizenship in order to allude to the possibility that only Indian Muslims would have to prove their citizenship.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had also supported the Supreme Court’s order to conduct a citizenship test in Assam in order to identify alleged migration of both Hindus and Muslims from Bangladesh.
On Tuesday, in response to another question about the status of implementation of the National Register of Citizens for the entire country said, “As far as Assam is concerned, on the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the hard copies of the supplementary list of inclusions and online family-wise list of exclusions in NRC have been published on 31st August, 2019.”
More than 19 lakh people in Assam were left out of the final list of the National Register of Citizens, comprising around 6% of Assam’s entire population. Some of those left out appealed against their exclusion in the foreigners’ tribunals.