The process of identifying and documenting illegal migrants launched by a ruling of the Supreme Court of India has generated considerable controversy since over 40.7 lakh residents of Assam were excluded from the National Register of Citizens, with most of them considered to be illegal settlers from Bangladesh. Dhaka had expressed concern over the fall out of the process.
Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jayashankar, who is currently on a two-day visit to Dhaka told his Bangladesh counterpart A.K. Abdul Momen that it is India’s “internal matter” and not aimed at Bangladeshi citizens. Momen told a television channel in July that “While we should not be worried, there is some anxiety after reading news reports”.
There were several criteria for inclusion in the NRC like having been included in the 1951 Register or any of the Electoral Lists up to 24 March 1971 or being a descendant of someone who fulfilled these requirements.
While the process of identification has come to a close, the federal and provincial governments had wanted to reopen the re-verification process to ensure that no one was wrongly included or excluded from the Register. The Supreme Court of India, however, barred the federal and provincial governments from reopening the exercise.
Now, the federal government has, however, decided to allow those whose names were excluded from the final NRC to file an appeal against their non-inclusion.
Ousting illegal immigrants was one of the primary election promises of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).