Children excluded from Assam’s National Register of Citizens despite their parents being on it will not be sent to detention centres, the Union government told the Supreme Court on Monday. An application had been filed in the top court on behalf of the families of 60 such children, expressing concern about their fate, IANS reported.

“I cannot conceive children being sent to detention centres and being separated from their families,” Attorney General KK Venugopal told a bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant. “Children whose parents have been granted citizenship will not be sent to detention centres.”

The court issued a notice to the Centre and the Assam government on the plea and gave them four weeks to reply. Interestingly, the court recorded Venugopal’s submission in its order too, using the words “children of parents who have been given citizens through NRC”. The NRC is only a way to identify illegal immigrants, and does not by itself grant citizenship to those who are part of it.

Also read: Assam’s NRC: These children could be stateless soon

Read all the stories in The Final Count series about Assam’s NRC here.

The court also heard a petition seeking the removal of the NRC coordinator in Assam, Hitesh Dev Sarma. The bench sought an explanation from the state government on the allegation that Sarma had made communal and anti-immigrant statements in the past on social media, Bar and Bench reported.

“He should not be saying all this,” the bench observed. “You [Assam government] have to explain this. Whatever you want. He should not be saying all this.”

Hitesh Dev Sarma, a civil servant, was appointed the coordinator of the National Register of Citizens in Assam in November, replacing Prateek Hajela.