People show their acknowledgement receipts after checking their names in a draft for National Register of Citizens (NRC), in Guwahati on Monday. 
People show their acknowledgement receipts after checking their names in a draft for National Register of Citizens (NRC), in Guwahati on Monday. (Photo: PTI)
  • 1. What is the National Register of Citizens?
  • 2. What Necessitated an NRC Exclusive to Assam?
  • 3. What's Happening Now?
  • 4. How Exactly is One’s Citizenship Being Ascertained?
  • 5. Why has 24 March 1971 Been Set as the Cut-Off Date?
  • 6. What Will Happen to Those Found 'Illegal'?
What is Assam’s National Register of Citizens Going to Achieve?

As many as 3.29 crore people from 68.27 lakh families have submitted over 6.5 crore documents with the government of Assam to prove their Indian citizenship. This massive exercise threatens to strip even genuine Indians of their citizenship if they are unable to produce documents that prove their ancestors resided in Assam before 1971.

Ostensibly, this bureaucratic nightmare is being justified with the aim to identify and segregate illegal Bangladeshi migrants. Politically, however, it offers a polarised religious and regional plank on which elections are fought, won and lost.

But what necessitated Assam’s second head-count since 1951? Why has it left countless Indian citizens who own even the holy grail of all identities – The Aadhaar –feeling insecure and vulnerable? How did the Supreme Court of India allow this? And what will happen to those who are unable to prove Assamese ancestry? With suggestions like “mass deportations” being proposed by those high up in the state BJP government, the hyperbole has left families facing the prospect of being torn apart.

Here’s how we got here.

  • 1. What is the National Register of Citizens?

    In 1951, the first census of Independent India was conducted. The original NRC was a register prepared after the 1951 Census, which recorded the particulars of those who belonged to Assam. This list was compiled with data from each village showing the houses or holdings in a serial order and indicating against each house or holding, the number and names of persons who were staying there at the time.

    These registers were kept in the offices of deputy commissioners and sub-divisional officers, but in the 1960s these registers were handed to the police.

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