22:34 GMT +307 December 2019
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    An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier stands guard at the border outpost at Lathitilla near the India-Bangladesh border in Karimganj district of Assam, India. (File)

    India Set to Execute Massive Exercise to Identify Infiltrators - Home Minister

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is Indian government’s policy to identify bonafide residents of the country and deport undocumented migrants from the north-eastern state of Assam bordering Bangladesh.

    Indian Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would be implemented across the country irrespective of religion.

    Speaking in the parliament’s upper house, the minister said: “The process of NRC will be carried out across the country. No one, irrespective of religion should be worried, it is just a process to get everyone under the NRC.”

    Denying allegations that the policy targets a particular religion, Shah sought to clarify that the NRC has no provision stipulating the exclusion of people based on religion. “All citizens of India irrespective of religion will figure in the NRC list.”

    The minister added that in Assam, those whose names have been excluded from the draft list have the right to appeal the tribunal.

    “People whose names have not figured in the draft list have the right appeal to Tribunal - constituted across Assam. Those who can’t afford legal counsel, the Assam government will bear the cost to hire a lawyer,” he said.

    Immediately after Shah’s remarks on NRC in parliament, the Home Minister’s name started trending on Twitter with #AmitShah. While some lauded the policy, other criticised it.

    Meanwhile, the Assam government promised free legal aid to those excluded through the use of district legal cells.

    As per government data, nearly 1.9 million people have been excluded from citizenship in Assam, which has a population of nearly 33 million.

    The Indian government launched a citizen identification process in Assam in 2017, fearing millions of Bangladeshis had illegally entered Indian territory after the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.

    The Home Minister also spoke about the Citizenship Amendment, saying the government accepts that Hindu refugees, Buddhists, Jain, Christians, Sikh and Parsi should get citizenship, as it is the point of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).

    The Bill is likely to be introduced in the ongoing Winter Session of parliament, which began on Monday and will last till 13 December.


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