NRC process to remain on hold in Assam due to Covid-19 lockdown

No rejection slips will be issued for the time being

AssamImage Courtesy:TOI

On March 19, Sabrang India had reported that all processes related to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) had been placed on hold due to the spread of the Coronavirus. There were indications that the process might resume when a phased exit from the lockdown began on April 20. However, NRC State Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma has now put all speculation to end.

Sarma told Sentinel Assam, “Earlier, there was a plan to issue the ‘Rejection Orders’ from March 20, 2020. But owing to the prevailing scenario over coronavirus, it will not be possible to begin the distribution process from tomorrow. The public will be duly informed as to when the process would be started.”

It is therefore not clear when the process would begin. It is noteworthy that March 20, 2020 was the deadline to start issuing rejection slips to people whose names had been excluded from the final NRC that was published on August 31, 2019. The Speaking Orders of NRC Disposing officers need to be scanned in order to complete the process of issuing the rejection slips. This is because the rejection slips are based on the reasons for rejection as specified in the speaking orders. Upon receipt of the rejection slip, a person has 120 days to approach the Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) in order to defend their citizenship.

Previously too, after the final NRC published on August 31 excluded 19,06,657 persons forcing them to defend their citizenship before FTs, there was widespread anxiety in Assam due to delays in issuance of rejection slips. Now, it appears that the process will be delayed even further.


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