Guwahati, July 30: Assam is on tenterhooks and rightly so. In a few hours from now, the second and final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be released online on Monday.
The final draft of NRC will decide who is a "genuine Indian citizen and who is a foreigner". The issue of foreigners or illegal immigrants is a decades-long problem that saw several episodes of upheavals, including the six-year-long Assam agitation, in the northeastern state.
As the state prepares to release the NRC draft amid tight security, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has asked people "not to believe in any rumours". He has also assured that "if someone's name doesn't appear in the NRC, he'll never be treated as a foreigner".
"The final draft of NRC will be released tomorrow. People whose names do not appear in it need not worry. It has been specified by the central government and the Assam government that they can apply for it through claims and objections forms," Sonowal told reporters on Sunday.
He added, "People shouldn't believe rumours. Even if someone's name doesn't appear in the NRC, he'll be treated as an Indian citizen and never as a foreigner. No one will have to go to any detention camp. Illiterate people will be helped by the Assam government to fill claims and objections forms."
The NRC is being updated under the Supreme Court supervision with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for genuine Indian citizens in Assam.
"The NRC will be released online and in all the NRC Sewa Kendras (NSK) across the state at 10 am (instead of noon as announced earlier)," NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela told reporters.
"The NRC will feature the names, addresses and photographs of all Indian citizens, who have been residing in the north eastern state before March 25, 1971," Hajela added.