Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said that seven lakh Muslims are among the 19 lakh persons left out of the National Register of Citizens for the state, News Live reported.

Sarma, during an interview with the television channel, also said that five lakh Bengali Hindus, two lakh Assamese Hindu groups Koch-Rajbongshi, Das, Kalita and Sarma (Assamese), and 1.5 lakh Gorkhas had been excluded from the register.

Assam published a National Register of Citizens on August 31, 2019, with the aim to separate Indian citizens from undocumented immigrants living in the state. Residents had to prove that they or their ancestors had entered Assam before midnight on March 24, 1971 in order for them to be included in the list.

Over 19 lakh persons, or 5.77% of the applicants, were left out of the final list. The breakup provided by Sarma amounts to 15.5 lakh. It was unclear who are the remaining 3.5 lakh persons.

Sarma had told The Indian Express at the time that nearly five lakh to six lakh of those excluded had migrated from Bangladesh due to religious persecution before 1971.

On Sunday, the chief minister said that three lakh to six lakh of those excluded from the register could apply for citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act, the rules for which were notified on March 11.

The Citizenship Amendment Act aims to fast-track Indian citizenship for refugees from six minority religious communities, except Muslims, from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and have entered the country by December 31, 2014.

On Friday, Sarma claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act would be a “fiasco” in Assam and that the state would see the lowest number of applications under the Act.

The chief minister said that those who did not apply for their names to be included in the National Register of Citizens were unlikely to apply for the Citizenship Amendment Act either.

“There is a cut-off date in the Act,” he said. “The Citizenship Amendment Act is very clear that one has to provide evidence of having come to the country before the cut-off date. If one did not apply for the National Register of Citizens, it means that he or she did not come to India before 2014.”

The National Register of Citizens exercise has so far only been implemented in Assam. In November 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had announced that the process to make a National Register of Citizens would be carried out across India.

Also read: ‘Betrayal by BJP’: Why CAA rules might not help Hindu Bengalis left out of Assam NRC