India: Incomplete Citizen’s Registry Confuses Assam Residents

Confusion and anger gripped the Northeast Indian state of Assam on Tuesday, a day after the government released a partial list of registered citizens that included only 19 million of its 32 million people. Being updated for the first time since 1951, the list, known as the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is aimed at detecting and deporting an estimated 20 million Bangladeshi migrants living in India illegally, according to the government.

The state government said the published NRC was a partial list, adding that the citizenship status of about 13 million people was being verified. The final list will be released some time in 2018, a government official told BenarNews on condition of anonymity.

The names of several political leaders in Assam were missing from the partial list published on Monday, including All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badruddin Ajmal, his parliamentarian brother Sirajuddin Ajmal, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shiladitya Dev, Congress party leader Nurul Huda and several members of the All India Minority Students.

“The non-inclusion of many prominent names, especially minority leaders, is a clear indication of Assam’s shifting political narrative ever since the rightwing BJP rose to power,” Monirul Hussain, professor of political science at the Guwahati University, told BenarNews.

Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal appealed to residents to not panic if their names didn’t appear in the first list. “This is only a part draft of the NRC. If the names of genuine Indian citizens are left out, there are enough provisions to submit claims to get their names included in the final list,” Sonowal told reporters.

On Monday, however, a man in Silchar, about 500 km (310.6 miles) from the state capital Guwahati, allegedly committed suicide because of the NRC publication. Hanif Khan was found hanged in his house. Read more via Benar News