India Declares 1.9m “Illegal Foreigners”

The process has also sparked criticism of "witch hunts" against Assam's ethnic minorities.

India has published the final version of a list which effectively strips about 1.9 million people in the north-eastern state of Assam of their citizenship.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) has  listed  people who can prove they came to the state by 24 March 1971, a day before neighbouring Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan.

Names of 3.11 crore applicants have been included and those of 19.07 lac have been left out from the final NRC list, the NRC State Coordinator’s office said.

People left off the list will have 120 days to appeal against their exclusion.  India says the process is needed to identify illegal Bangladeshi migrants.

On the day before his five children were due to appear in front of a tribunal in India’s  northeast state of Assam to prove they were genuine citizens, Rahim Ali hanged himself outside their corrugated metal shack in the village of Banti Pur in Barpeta district, his wife said.

He was worried the children would be excluded from a government citizens list set to be published on Saturday, said Halimun Nessa, standing over Ali’s fresh grave. He had feared they would be sent to a detention camp.

Halimun Nessa stands with her children and displays a photograph of her husband Rahim Ali, who committed suicide.

New detention centre being built for people who are not included in a “citizens register” in Kadamtola Gopalpur village, in Goalpara district, the capital city of India’s northeastern state of Assam.

Security was tightened in the Indian state of Assam on August 30 before the release of a “citizens register” expected to leave millions deemed as “foreign infiltrators” facing detention camps and even deportation.

It has already detained thousands of people suspected of being foreigners in temporary camps which are housed in the state’s prisons, but deportation is currently not an option for the country.

The process has also sparked criticism of “witch hunts” against Assam’s ethnic minorities.

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