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National Register for Citizenship (NRC)

NRC is the National Register of Citizens. The NRC identified illegal immigrants from

Assam on the Supreme Court's order. This has been a state-specific exercise to keep

its ethnic uniqueness unaltered. But ever since its implementation, there has been a

growing demand for its nationwide implementation. Now, many top BJP leaders

including Home Minister Amit Shah have proposed that the NRC in Assam be

implemented across India. It effectively suggests to bring in a legislation that will enable

the government to identify infiltrators who have been living in India illegally, detain them

and deport them to where they came from. 1

The proposed Bill, which till now remains just a proposal, if implemented will target

illegal immigrants in India. But Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhist, Jains and Parsis

coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh won't be affected, if they claim they

have arrived India after fleeing religious persecution. Which essentially means if a

nationwide NRC comes in as proposed, any illegal immigrant from other than Pakistan,

Afghanistan and Bangladesh, will be affected. And as for those three nations, people

coming from there who belong to the Muslim community will also be affected as they

are not included in the Citizenship Amendment Act.


NRC for Indian citizens in Assam was first created in 1951. Manipur and Tripura were

also granted permission to create their own NRCs, but it never materialized. The reason

behind the move was to identify Indian citizens in Assam amid "unabated" migration

from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). 

 The list comprised of those who lived in India on January 26, 1950, or were born in

India or had parents who were born in India or had been living in India for at least five

years before the January 26, 1950 cut-off.

 The process to update the register began following a Supreme Court order in 2013,

with the state’s nearly 33 million people having to prove that they were Indian nationals

prior to March 24, 1971.

The updated final NRC was released on August 31, with over 1.9 million applicants

failing to make it to the list. 2


As proposed, if a nationwide NRC comes in place, the affected will be detained and

taken to large detention centers, as it is happening in Assam. After that, the Ministry of

External Affairs will get in touch with the concerned nations. If the details of the detained

are matched and accepted by the concerned nations, deportations will follow. The

politics of NRC, BJP chief Shah has been raising the pitch for a nationwide NRC for

some time now. As late as this October, Shah raised the matter in West Bengal, not far

from Assam. He had said, We had brought the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha, but the TMC MPs did not allow the Upper House to function. They did not allow the bill to be passed, and due to this, there are people in our country who are yet to get

the Indian citizenship. In Haryana, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar too made the

promise of bringing the NRC in the state during his election campaigning. Even Mohan

Bhagwat, the RSS supremo has been pitching for the same, though behind closed

doors. Whether a nationwide NRC will come in place or not is a premature question to

answer. But going by the speed the government is moving in bringing some rather bold

legislation, like abrogation of Article 370 in the monsoon session of Parliament and

CAB in the winter session, a pan-India NRC Bill in the next Parliament session won't be

a far fetched idea.


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