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Why NRC is applicable only in Assam and not any other Indian state?
In Assam, the final draft list of National Register of Citizens (NRC) was released today. However, the names of 40 lakh people did not make it to the list. Out of the 3.29 crore people who had claimed citizenship of India, the NCR cleared only 2.89 crore claims as genuine. At present, there's an atmosphere of fear among those who failed to make the cut that they may be deported from India.

Let's know what is the NRC and why it does not apply to other states?

Those whose names aren't included in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) list can be considered illegal citizens. The list includes the names of those who have been living in Assam since before March 25, 1971 and those who had arrived post that date would be declared illegal immigrants. NRC applies to only one state in India, Assam.

In Assam, illegal immigration, especially from Bangladesh, is rampant, and has become a cause of worry for the original inhabitants of the state. The question arose as to how to determine who is an Indian citizen and who is a foreigner!

Subsequently, on August 15, 1985, the government of India signed the agreement with AASU (All Assam Students Union) and other organizations. Under this agreement, the people who had arrived in Assam after March 25, 1971 had to be identified and sent back to their native places. Following the Assam Accord, the leaders associated with the movement formed a political party named the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which also formed government in the state twice.

In 2005, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to update the 1951 National Register of Citizens. He decided that the names of people who has been illegally staying in Assam before the cutoff date i.e. 25 March 1971 should also be included in the National Register of Citizens. But the dispute grew rather than resolving.

However, in 2015, IAS officer Prateek Hajela was given the task of updating the NRC under the supervision of the Supreme Court. The Registrar General opened several NRC centers across the state. It was decided to hold a census of Indian citizens whose ancestors were present in the NRC of 1951 or any voter list till March 24, 1971. Apart from this, 12 other types of certificates or documents such as birth certificate, land documents, school-college certificates, passports, court papers could be produced for staking claim over Indian citizenship.

There are deep concerns about NRC in some circles of Assam. A week before the release of the report, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that the list to be released on 30th July would be just a draft and not a final list. He had said that before releasing the final draft all will be given an opportunity to prove their citizenship. He also assured that the Assam state government would not take any action against those whose names did not feature in the list.

Hajela has said that those whose names did not appear in the draft, need not worry. He has adviced such people to visit their respective Sewa Kendras and fill in the prescribed forms. These forms will be available from August 7 to September 28.

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