A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the exclusion of around 2,000 transgenders from Assam’s National Register of Citizens, ANI reported.
The state’s first transgender judge and petitioner Swati Bidhan Baruah said the NRC was not an inclusive exercise. “Most transgenders were abandoned, they do not have documents pertaining to before 1971,” Baruah told the news agency. “Objection applications did not contain ‘others’ as a gender category.”
“NRC was not inclusive for transgenders and forced them to accept male or female as their gender,” she added. “We are hoping the Supreme Court will take into consideration our petition.”
As many as 3.3 crore people had applied for the exercise. More than 19 lakh people were left out of the final list of the updated citizens’ database that was published on August 31. The number of people left out comprise around 6% of Assam’s entire population, two times the number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and the population of Nagaland. They will now have to appeal against the decision in foreigners’ tribunals.
Read the stories of those who are most affected by the NRC exercise in our series: The Final Count.
The government had last month said it would provide legal assistance to those left out of the NRC.
The NRC was first published in 1951 and was updated to exclude those who may have illegally entered Assam via Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.
There are several controversies surrounding the NRC, including speculation that it has been targeted against a particular community. Many political parties, including the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, have criticised the NRC, pointing out that many Bengali Hindus have been left out of the register. Bengali Hindus are the BJP’s oldest vote bank in the state.
A “people’s tribunal” has also pointed out flaws in the Supreme Court’s role in the compilation of Assam’s National Register of Citizens. The tribunal, which held its discussions over the weekend in Delhi, observed that the top court’s role had raised important constitutional concerns. It said the Supreme Court judgement that paved the way for the NRC exercise had relied upon “unverified, and now disproved, data to hold that migration amounted to ‘external aggression’ upon India”. In doing so, the court “in effect, dehumanised migrants and infringed their rights to liberty and dignity”, the tribunal said.
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