New Delhi, July 30: The final draft of the NRC was out today and 40 lakh people from Assam have been left out. While the government has made it clear that this is just a draft and the final list would be out after claims are objections are filed, it is still unclear what happens to these people.
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For now there would be no deportation or any other legal proceedings, which means these persons would continue to live in the state until the final list is published. If all these names do not make it to the final list, then they would lose their Indian citizenship, as a result of which they would have to be deported to their home country. The NRC is a list of people who cannot prove that they came to the state before March 24 1971, when Bangladesh was created.
In the Indian context, it is an extremely important exercise aimed at rooting out lakhs of illegal Bangladeshi migrants. If all these 40 lakh people do not make it to the final list, then Assam would have the world's largest stateless population after Myanmar.
Prior to this list coming out, Myanmar had the largest stateless population at 10 lakh. The other countries which feature in this list are Côte d'Ivoire at 7 Lakh, Thailand, 5 Lakh and Syria with 3.6 Lakh.
The United Nations refugee agency puts the overall number at 10 million worldwide. Officially there are three million people who are officially stateless. The biggest challenge for India would be to deal with these people who will become stateless if their names do not make it to the final list.
It could well become a humanitarian crisis like we saw in the case of the Rohingyas. They will have no claim on any country as a result of which no country will offer them a place to settle down and be their citizens. In the case of the Rohingyas only a temporary solution has been offered after they fled from Myanmar.
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In case it is proven that they are illegal migrants and Bangladesh accepts them as their citizens, then they could be legally deported. Officials say that they are aware of what this could snowball into, but they are taking one thing at a time. Let the final list be out, following which a legal process would follow. It would also have to be taken up diplomatically with their home country and the issue resolved amicably, a Home Ministry official said.