By Rahul Bedi, The Telegraph, July 2018
India was braced for unrest in its north eastern Assam state on Monday after the authorities declared some four million residents to be foreigners, effectively stripping them of their citizenship and raising fears of deportation.
The residents, mostly Muslims of Bangladeshi origin, were deemed ‘stateless’ as India published its draft list of citizens deemed to have entered the country before 1971, when millions fled Bangladesh’s war of independence into the state.
The government released its final draft of Assam’s National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) in what many claim is as an effort by Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, to target Muslims hostile to his BJP nationalist party ahead of elections next year.
But in a bid to quell growing unrest officials insisted no one would face immediate deportation to Bangladesh from where they had migrated decades ago and that all those deemed foreigners had the right to appeal.
The authorities on Monday also placed the Indian Army on standby and deployed over 40,000 state police and paramilitary personnel across the state.
“This is just a draft and not the final list” India’s census commissioner Sailesh, who uses only one name, told reporters in Guwahati, the state’s principal city.
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