Nearly 2 million, mostly Muslims face statelessness as India publishes citizenship list

NEW DEHLI: 31,AUGUST,2019: Nearly two million people in northeast India were left facing statelessness on Saturday after the state of Assam published a citizenship list aimed at weeding out "foreign infiltrators", in a process the central government wants to replicate nationwide. 

A total of 31.1 million people were included in a final National Register of Citizens (NRC), but 1.9 million were deemed ineligible, according to a statement from the Assam government.

Most of those excluded were expected to be Muslim.

Assam, an impoverished isolated state of 33 million, has long seen large influxes from elsewhere, including under British colonial rule and around Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence when millions fled into India. 

For decades this has made Assam a hotbed of inter-religious and ethnic tensions.

Sporadic violence has included the 1983 massacre of around 2,000 people.

This has led to pressure from those who see themselves as genuine Assamese for a lasting solution, which they hope will come from the NRC released on Saturday.

Only those who can demonstrate that they or their forebears were in India before 1971 could be included in the list.

But navigating the complex process is a huge challenge for many in a region of high illiteracy where many lack documentation.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has also voiced his concern on the matter, saying, "Reports in Indian and international media on Modi government's ethnic cleansing of Muslims should send alarm bells ringing across the world that the illegal annexation of Kashmir is part of a wider policy to target Muslims."

Read more: https://onlineindus.com/english/Nearly-2-million,-mostly-Muslims-fa...

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