Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday said “genuine” Indians would get enough opportunities to get their names added to the National Register of Citizens, PTI reported. He urged people not to worry if their names do not find a place in the register’s first draft, which will be released on Sunday.
Assam began to update the National Register of Citizens in 2015, ostensibly to create a definitive list of citizens of the state and root out illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, a key election promise made by the Bharatiya Janata Party before it won the state elections in 2016. This is the first exercise of its kind since 1951.
“No one should have any apprehensions,” Sonowal told PTI. “If the name of a genuine Indian citizen is missing in the part draft of the NRC, he or she will get a proper chance to incorporate it.” He added that the government would tolerate no violence, and the Centre had deployed security forces across Assam to ensure peace.
The list has, however, also sparked fears among the state’s minorities, who feel they may be left out of the list. The Supreme Court has asked for the first draft to be published by December 31.
To qualify for inclusion in the list, the state is going with the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985: anyone who can prove that they or their ancestors had entered the state before the midnight of March 24, 1971, will be counted as a citizen.