04, Sep 2019
After a series of concerns raised by the United Nations, via repeated letters and communiques, about the brewing humanitarian crisis in Assam, the Indian Government has finally issued a formal response. In a letter dated August 23, a representative of the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations Offices at Geneva wrote to the Chief of the Special Procedures Branch claiming every step being taken in Assam is in accordance with the law.
The Indian government’s response says that the preparation of the NRC is a statutory exercise and the update of the NRC is conducted under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955. The 1951 NRC was prepared after consulting all stakeholder. The letter also says that entire process is being monitored by the Supreme Court.
Now that the final NRC has been published, and 19,06,657 people have been excluded from the final list, CJP’s campaign has become even more focused. Our objective now, is to help these excluded people defend their citizenship before Foreigners’ Tribunals. For this we have already started conducting a series of workshops to train paralegals to assist people at FTs. We will also be publishing a multi-media training manual containing simplified aspects of legal procedure, evidentiary rules, and judicial precedents that will ensure the appeals filed against the NRC exclusions in the FTs are comprehensive and sound, both in fact and in law. This will assist our paralegals, lawyers and the wider community in Assam to negotiate this tortuous process. For this we need your continued support. Please donate now to help us help Assam.
In their latest communication with the Indian government four Special Rapporteurs of the UN had in a letter dated May 27, 2019 reminded the Indian government about “specific concerns were noted with regard to the NRC process and the role of Assam administrative and judicial authorities, namely the absence of official policy outlining the implications for those excluded from the final NRC; inconsistencies and errors during the application and registration process; entrenched bias and arbitrary application of the required procedures by the verifying
authorities disproportionately affecting members of the Bengali-speaking Muslim and Hindu minorities, as well as the Nepali and Hindi linguistic minorities and tribal groups; challenges in accessing the required documentation and serious inconsistencies with regard to the creation and maintenance of historic and family records, with a disproportionate impact on women and children; the tight deadlines imposed on all those excluded from the draft NRC to file a revision claim; the reported complexity of the “Claims and Objections” process and its Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) authorized by the Supreme Court in November 2018; the composition and capacity of the Assam Foreigners’ Tribunals to process the cases referred to them, and the alleged pressure by state authorities on members of these Foreigners’ Tribunals to “improve results”; the prolonged detention of those designated as “foreigners; and, the vulnerability of the family members of all those declared as “foreigners”.”
In response, the Indian government has said that “the entire process is comprehensive, fair, objective and inclusive”and that adequate grievance redressal remedies are available. The letter also assures that “adequate arrangements will be made by the state government to provide full opportunity” to people to appeal against non-inclusion. The entire response by the Indian Government may be read here: