GUHAWATI (INDIA), Aug 31 (Reuters / EP) –
Almost two million people remain outside the civil registry in the Indian state of Assam and are in danger of ending up as stateless as a result of an extraordinary siege ordered by the authorities to reduce illegal immigration, although according to the premises it is a question of new measure taken by the ultra-nationalist prime minister, Narendra Modi, against the Muslim population, a minority in the state.
Resentment against illegal immigrants has been simmering for years in Assam, one of the poorest states in India. Residents blame foreigners, many of whom are said to come from neighboring Bangladesh, for stealing their jobs and land.
The authorities verified the documents submitted by approximately 33 million people for a draft published last year in the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) of Assam, which left four million residents of the state without citizenship, many of them Hindu. The final list now excludes approximately 1,900,000 people, according to the registry coordinator, Prateek Hajela.
“Any person who is not satisfied with the result can file an appeal with the immigration courts,” Hajela added in relation to quasi-judicial bodies, before which they can appear within 120 days. If they are determined to be illegal immigrants again, they can appeal to higher courts.
Critics accuse the ruling Hindu nationalist party of the prime minister of fueling sentiment against illegal immigrants and abusing the registry to attack even legal Muslim citizens. His right hand and Interior Minister, Amit Shah, has described them as “termites.”