oppn parties NRC: A Lot Remains Unanswered

News Snippets

  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
  • Trump says it is up to India to decide on the CAA
  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
  • US President Donald Trump lands in Ahmedabad, received at the airport by Prime Minister Modi
  • US President Donald Trump to land in India today
Continuing violence in Delhi takes the sheen off the visit by US President Donald Trump
oppn parties
NRC: A Lot Remains Unanswered

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

As the deadline (Aug 31) for publishing the final NRC in Assam approaches, it is clear that the document will not be perfect or even near it, despite several interventions by the Supreme Court and a gargantuan exercise conducted over a period of many years. There will still be lakhs of applicants who will be excluded from the list for many reasons.  Not all of them are foreigners. Some of them have the necessary documents (the refugee certificate granted to their ancestors, for instance) but their applications have been rejected as the government doesn't have the records in its possession to match and validate the same. Others have missed out as they either did not have the proper documents or those they submitted were rejected. It is really a tragic situation.

But can it be helped? There is a huge list of documents for applying to the NRC and a person can submit anyone to validate his or her claim. Apart from the refugee certificate that is being rejected for want of validation at the government end, most other documents have been accepted. If a person who claims to be an Indian citizen cannot produce a verifiable document from the cut-off date, it is basically a problem that cannot be sorted out in his favour. The government has to be careful as there have been reports of a flourishing industry that is providing illegal immigrants with fake documents for submission with the NRC application. It is now clear that instead of sorting out old problems, the publication of the NRC is likely to create new and lasting problems that will create headaches for both the Centre and the state government.

There have been reports that although the Supreme Court had ordered identification and detention of suspected illegal immigrants, most of those who had already been declared foreigners by the Foreigner's Tribunals (FT) established under NRC have gone into hiding. The administration had shown urgency immediately after the apex court order and had arrested many but had then become lax allowing thousands to just vanish. Further, the government has allowed time till December 31 for people left out from the final NRC to file objections with the Foreigner's Tribunals (FT). But is the government ready with a sufficient number of FT's and if not, will it find the money and the people required to establish and run these?

One hopes that there will be no disturbance post the publication of the final NRC. Despite apprehensions, there was no major incident after the draft was published. It should remain that way now. Vested interests and some political parties must realize that the exercise is being monitored by the Supreme Court and that the judges will not allow any major deviation to take place. They should let the objection period expire before starting any movement. But the biggest headache is what will be done in respect of the thousands that will still be left out and declared foreigners? They cannot be kept in detention camps for eternity. With External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar recently saying in Dhaka that the NRC is India's "internal matter", there is no question of sending them back to Bangladesh or even asking the country to take them back. The government has not made it clear how it is going to handle this issue.