Pan India NRC: A lesson to be learnt from Assam
What would a pan-India NRC mean?
The only exception to this was Assam where as per the 1985 Assam Accord foreigners who came to the state up to March 24, 1971 were to be regularised as Indian citizens. Seen in this context, only Assam was allowed to take in foreigners up to March 24, 1971. For the rest of the country, those born outside the country after January 26, 1950 and residing in India without proper documents is a foreign, illegal immigrant. Such persons are subject to laws like the Foreigners Act, 1946 and Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and tribunals are already empowered to detect, detain and deport them.
Taking the Assam model to the entire nation will be akin to asking 125 crore Indians to reapply for citizenship.
How did Assam do it?
The NRC update was a mammoth exercise involving over 52,000 state Government officials working for a prolonged period. Hundreds of NRC Seva Kendras (NSKs) were set up to process the documents under the apex court's watch. An applicant had to pick any one of the documents under two heads — list A and list B.
What do these lists comprise?
1. 1951 NRC2. Electoral roll(s) up to 24 March (midnight), 19713. Land and tenancy records4. Citizenship certificate5. Permanent residential certificate6. Refugee registration certificate7. Any government issued license/certificate8. Government service/employment certificate9. Bank or post office accounts10. Birth certificate11. State educational board or university educational certificate12. Court records/processes13. Passport14. Any LIC policy
The above documents could not be from a date later than the cut-off date of March 24, 1971 (Midnight). Those who did not have any 1971 documents that mention their name can show any one of the documents named in this list if it mentions their parents/grandparents along with one more document from List B (with 8 options) to establish a connection. List B included:1. Birth certificate2. Land document3. Board/university certificate4. Bank/LIC/post office records5. Circle officer/gaon panchayat secretary certificate in case of married women6. Electoral roll7. Ration card8. Any other legally acceptable document
Other documents accepted
a) Circle officer or gaon panchayat secretary certificate that need not be on or before the 1971 dateb) A ration card issued on or before the 1971 date.
What happens if your name is not in the list?
To accommodate disenfranchised persons, detention camps were set up across the state. At present, there are six detention centres in Assam's Goalpara, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Silchar, Kokrajhar and Tezpur, where district jails have been converted to camps.