GUWAHATI, Sept 1 - After four years of speculations, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published yesterday excluding names of more than 19 lakh people, who had applied for inclusion of their names in it. But till date, no one knows what will be the future of the NRC and the fate of the people left out of it. However, on the positive side, no law and order problem cropped up in any part of the State following the publication of the NRC.
With most of the political parties including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressing displeasure over the NRC, no one is sure what will be the fate of the document and whether any action will be taken by the Government on the basis of it. Moreover, the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) is also not happy with the number of exclusions and announced that it would again approach the Supreme Court seeking removal of the discrepancies in the NRC and it remains to be seen what stand the Court takes on such an appeal as the entire process of updating the NRC was monitored by the Apex Court right from the beginning.
Meanwhile, the Government has not taken a decision on the fate of the people left out of the NRC. Official sources told The Assam Tribune that the Central and State Governments are yet to come out with any concrete proposal on the fate of the people left out of the NRC. Sources pointed out that as per law, the people left out of the NRC would have the right to approach the Foreigners� Tribunals seeking justice. At present, one hundred Tribunals are functioning in the State and the Government has initiated measures to make 200 more Tribunals operational by first week of October and the Gauhati High Court has already selected members for the Tribunals. After the 200 Tribunals become operational, steps for setting up 200 more Tribunals will be initiated.
The persons left out of the NRC would have 120 days to appeal before the Tribunals.
However, sources said that completing the process of hearings by the Tribunals and delivering judgments will take some time even though the documents of the persons left out of the NRC would be readily available. The process will not end with the verdict of the Tribunals as the concerned persons will have the right to approach higher courts.
Sources also pointed out that even after the process of hearings of the Tribunals and may be even higher courts, the Government would have to take a call on the fate of the persons declared as foreigners. It will not be possible to deport lakhs of people to any country and in fact, it will be difficult to ascertain the country of their origin, sources admitted Moreover, around four lakh persons, whose names did not appear in the draft of the NRC published last year, did not file claims and the Government has not yet decided their future. As those people did not file claims, it is assumed that they are not Indian citizens and steps should have been taken to keep a tab on them, sources admitted.
Though there were some discussions at the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide work permits to declared foreigners who could not be deported, but the Government is yet to take a decision in this regard, sources admitted.