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US takes note of uncertain future of 4 million people

By Spl Correspondent
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NEW DELHI, March 20 - The US State Department has taken a hard look at the BJP-led NDA government over the ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise alleging that it has led to uncertain future of four million people.

In its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, the US State Department has said that on July 31, the Government of Assam published the final draft of the NRC, a document intended to define individuals with a claim to citizenship in a state that experienced an influx of foreigners in 1971.

In 1985 the government declared that anyone who entered Assam without proper documentation after March 24, 1971, would be declared a foreigner. The names of four million residents were excluded from the final draft list, leading to uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the State for several generations. Individuals will be required to go through an appeals process to have their names included in the final list of Indian citizens.

The Supreme Court is overseeing the process, and four million individuals were given 60 days from September 25 to file a claim or objection. �On September 24, ruling BJP party president Amit Shah called Bangladeshis who may be in Assam �termites� who will be struck from the list of citizens,� the report said.

In September 2017, Akhil Gogoi, an RTI (right to information) activist and president of the anticorruption organisation Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, was arrested in Assam on charges of sedition and labelled a Maoist by the government a day after he gave a speech criticising various policies of the ruling BJP party, the report said. In December 2017, Gauhati High Court ordered Gogoi�s release, it added.

About the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), the report said although in 2016 the Supreme Court concluded that every death caused by the armed forces in a disturbed area, whether of a common person or a terrorist, should be thoroughly investigated, adding that the law must be equally applied, the AFSPA remained in effect in Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, and parts of Mizoram, and a version of the law was in effect in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

�There was considerable public support for repeal of the AFSPA, particularly in areas that experienced a significant decrease in insurgent attacks. Human rights organizations also continued to call for the repeal of the law, citing numerous alleged human rights violations,� the report added.

In July the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, and the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders urged authorities to complete investigations into the alleged encounter killings after CBI officials failed to meet a third deadline on July 2 set by the Supreme Court for inquiries into the cases, the report said, adding, the experts stated the government has an obligation to ensure prompt, effective, and thorough investigations into all allegations of potentially unlawful killings.

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US takes note of uncertain future of 4 million people

NEW DELHI, March 20 - The US State Department has taken a hard look at the BJP-led NDA government over the ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise alleging that it has led to uncertain future of four million people.

In its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, the US State Department has said that on July 31, the Government of Assam published the final draft of the NRC, a document intended to define individuals with a claim to citizenship in a state that experienced an influx of foreigners in 1971.

In 1985 the government declared that anyone who entered Assam without proper documentation after March 24, 1971, would be declared a foreigner. The names of four million residents were excluded from the final draft list, leading to uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the State for several generations. Individuals will be required to go through an appeals process to have their names included in the final list of Indian citizens.

The Supreme Court is overseeing the process, and four million individuals were given 60 days from September 25 to file a claim or objection. �On September 24, ruling BJP party president Amit Shah called Bangladeshis who may be in Assam �termites� who will be struck from the list of citizens,� the report said.

In September 2017, Akhil Gogoi, an RTI (right to information) activist and president of the anticorruption organisation Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, was arrested in Assam on charges of sedition and labelled a Maoist by the government a day after he gave a speech criticising various policies of the ruling BJP party, the report said. In December 2017, Gauhati High Court ordered Gogoi�s release, it added.

About the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), the report said although in 2016 the Supreme Court concluded that every death caused by the armed forces in a disturbed area, whether of a common person or a terrorist, should be thoroughly investigated, adding that the law must be equally applied, the AFSPA remained in effect in Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, and parts of Mizoram, and a version of the law was in effect in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

�There was considerable public support for repeal of the AFSPA, particularly in areas that experienced a significant decrease in insurgent attacks. Human rights organizations also continued to call for the repeal of the law, citing numerous alleged human rights violations,� the report added.

In July the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, and the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders urged authorities to complete investigations into the alleged encounter killings after CBI officials failed to meet a third deadline on July 2 set by the Supreme Court for inquiries into the cases, the report said, adding, the experts stated the government has an obligation to ensure prompt, effective, and thorough investigations into all allegations of potentially unlawful killings.