NEW DELHI, Sept 12 - The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday clarified that those left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are not stateless or foreigners.
Replying to questions on the recent statement of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Assam, MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said, �which country allows an illegal person to stay in its territory... Of course, due process has to be followed and it is being followed.�
The NRC is a statutory process, a transparent and legal process mandated by the Supreme Court, he said, adding, �It is not an executive-driven process. Whatever has been told by the court has been followed by the executive.�
�It is not a discriminatory process and there is no bias or prejudice. The 1.9 million people have the right to appeal before the foreigners tribunals, high court and the Supreme Court,� Kumar added.
The spokesman said that the issue had figured during the visit of the Home Minister of Bangladesh and it has been conveyed that the NRC is an internal matter of India.
Asked about the end result, Kumar said that the process has been long drawn. �Let us not talk about what will happen,� he said. �It has been a fair and transparent process and what will happen in the future will be decided later,� he said.
Meanwhile, the MEA clarified that foreign journalists desiring to visit Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states, including restricted area permit (RAP) and protected area permit (PAP) states, will have to seek prior permission of the Government of India.
The MEA spokesman, however, categorically denied that there have been any recent changes in those areas that require prior permission. �There has been no change, and rules and regulations go back a long time,� he said.
If any foreign journalist wishes to visit any of the four categories of states � Jammu and Kashmir, northeastern states, RAP and PAP states, they will have to seek prior permission from the Government of India, he explained.
Kumar also denied that foreign journalists working in Assam have been asked to leave the State. The case is handled by the local law and order authorities according to the situation prevailing in that part of the country, he said.