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2 Million People in Assam Face Statelessness, Imprisonment After India Publishes Citizens Register

HeadlineSep 03, 2019

In India, nearly 2 million people in the state of Assam are at risk of being rendered stateless after the government published its National Register of Citizens list Saturday. The highly contested register was first created in 1951 and lists people who are able to prove they came to the state by March 24, 1971 — one day before neighboring Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan. The Indian government says the list helps identify Bangladeshi migrants who are not legal residents. Critics say it is an attempt to deport millions of Muslims. Residents suspected of being foreigners can be rounded up and sent to prison camps. Assam residents who do not appear on the list have 120 days to appeal their exclusion before so-called foreigner tribunals. This is lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi.

Asaduddin Owaisi: “I have spoken to many people in Assam. They tell me that their father’s name is included but the children’s name is not included. So I hope that the foreigners’ tribunal will act in a more judicious way, because if the parents’ name is there and the children’s names are not there, I am pretty much sure, because 120 days’ time has been given, people will definitely appeal.”

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