New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said a citizen’s list or National Register of Citizens (NRC) on the lines of the exercise in Assam will be implemented nationwide, while making it clear that there would be no discrimination on the basis of religion.
“The process of NRC will be carried out across the country. No one irrespective of their religion should be worried. There will be absolutely no discrimination,” Shah said in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament).
He said NRC was “just a process” to get everyone under the citizen’s list.
“The NRC exercise in Assam was monitored by the honourable Supreme Court of India. No religion has been targeted or isolated during the NRC exercise,” he added.
He informed the House that there was no provision in NRC that people belonging to other religions would not be included in the list.
“People from all religions who are Indian citizens will be included in NRC. Let there be no doubt about it. NRC is a different process and the Citizenship Amendment Bill is different. They should not be confused with each other,” Shah clarified.
The Home Minister emphasised that the refugees — Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Parsis — who left Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh due to religious atrocities would get Indian citizenship.
“I would like all to know that all refugees coming from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan on account of religious atrocities in those countries will get citizenship under the Citizenship Bill,” he said.
In Assam, NRC sought to identify illegal immigrants who entered the state and settled there after March 25, 1971. They would eventually be deported to their native country. The final NRC list in Assam left out over 19 lakh applicants.
Shah said the people whose names were missing from the NRC list in Assam can approach tribunals for relief.
“Tribunals will be constituted across Assam. If any person doesn’t have the money to approach tribunals, then the Assam government will bear the cost to hire a lawyer,” he said.
Earlier, he had said that NRC was a matter of national security and “no country could run smoothly under the weight of so many intruders”.
What is NRC?
Maintained by Indian government, National Register of Citizens (NRC) contains names and certain relevant information for identification of all genuine Indian citizens.
The Register was first prepared after the 1951 census of India and since then it has not been updated till recently.
Assam became the first state in India where updation of NRC was taken up to include names of those persons whose names appeared in NRC, 1951 and were still alive and/or of their presently living descendants having permanent residence within the state.
The updation process for Assam started in 2013 when the apex Supreme Court passed an order for the same.