Exclusion from NRC has no implication on rights: MEA

Raveesh Kumar, spokesman for Indian Ministry of External Affairs. (File Photo: REUTERS)

The Union government on Sunday asserted that those excluded in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam would not become “Stateless” or “Foreigners” till the legal process is completed.

“Exclusion from the NRC has no implication on the rights of an individual resident in Assam. For those who are not in the final list will not be detained and will continue to enjoy all the rights as before, till they have exhausted all the remedies available under the law,” Raveesh Kumar, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

“It (exclusion) doesn't make the excluded person 'Stateless'. It also does not make him or her a 'Foreigner', within the legal meaning of the term. They will not be deprived of any rights or entitlements which they have enjoyed before,” he added.

Anyone excluded from the NRC at this stage has a right to file an appeal within 120 days of receiving a notification of exclusion to the designated (foreigner's) tribunal.

“All appeals and excluded cases will be examined by the tribunal, which is a judicial process. This judicial process will commence only after the appellate period is over. Thereafter, anyone still aggrieved by any decision of being excluded will have the right to approach the High Court of Assam and then the Supreme Court,” Kumar said.

Intended to assuage the frayed nerves, the MEA statement comes weeks after Home Minister Amit Shah quoting the draft NRC report told the Parliament that there were more than 40 lakh illegal immigrants in Assam.

Shah in the past had also termed illegal immigrants “termites” and a major threat to national security due to the sheer numbers involved.

The final NRC, however, excluded only 19 lakh people.

Kumar said the state government would be adding 200 (foreigner's) tribunals to the existing 100 such tribunals by December 2019 at block level for the convenience of appellants.

“The (Union) government will even assist in providing directions on how to deal with such appeals. Assam has assured provision of free legal assistance to any person excluded from the list and who is unable to afford such legal assistance. This is to enable people, especially the disadvantaged sections, to have access to the best possible legal assistance,” he said.

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