Assam on high alert ahead of release of final NRC list today

Guwahati: Amid tightened security and a ban on assembly of more than four people in some public places considered sensitive, the stage is set for the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list in Assam on Saturday.

According to officials, the list will be released online at 10 a.m. on Saturday, taking a further step in identifying whether a person residing in Assam is actually an Indian or a foreigner. The publication of the final NRC list, which is a sensitive political matter, is likely to stir up a huge gamut of reactions involving the large number of stakeholders.

Keeping in view the far-reaching implications of the move, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has called upon the people of the state to maintain peace and tranquillity. Sonowal said the NRC, which has been updated by the state NRC coordinator and his team under the monitoring of the Supreme Court and the supervision of Registrar General of India, is an outcome of the untiring efforts of thousands of people.

Sonowal said that those people whose names have been excluded from the proposed NRC would get an opportunity to file their appeals and be heard in the Foreigners' Tribunal (FT) as per the direction of the Union Home Ministry. "Extension of filing an appeal from 60 days to 120 days to the FT will help all the excluded persons enjoy a level playing field. The government of Assam will take care of the cause of the excluded people and due care will be taken so that no body is subjected to any unnecessary harassment," he said.

Assam Director General of Police (DGP) Kuladhar Saikia said that adequate arrangements have been made to ensure that there is no law and order problem post the publication of the NRC. "The law and order situation is normal across the state. We have already done a sensitivity and vulnerability assessment and asked the concerned police to remain alert. Deployment of forces have been done to ensure that there is no problem," he said.

The DGP said that apart from the forces of the Assam Police, 218 companies of additional forces have also been deployed to ensure safety and security for all. The police have declared 14 districts as sensitive areas. The final NRC list comes 13 months after the Complete Draft NRC was published on July 30 last year.

Earlier, the first part of the draft NRC, called Part Draft NRC, was published in December, 2017 and incorporated the names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants. The final draft of the NRC contained 2.9 crore names out of the total 3.29 crore applicants. The NRC, first published in Assam in 1951, is being updated as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

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