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Assam NRC Leaves 4 Million People With an Uncertain Future 

A question mark looms over the identity of these 40 lakh people in Assam – are they Indians or ‘illegal migrants’?

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Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

40,07,708.

This is the exact number of people who were left out from the complete draft of the NRC or National Register of Citizens.

A question mark looms over the identity of these 40 lakh people – are they Indians or ‘illegal migrants’ who have been living in Assam for generations?

The purpose of the NRC was to identify ‘genuine Indians’ living in Assam and detect the ‘illegal foreigners’. So far, 2,89,83,677 people have made it to the complete draft of the NRC, which means it has been proved through a strict documentation process that they are Indians.

But the people whose names are not in the list won’t be declared ‘illegal foreigners’ yet, nor will they be detained or deported. They have the legal right to apply again by filing a claim.

Starting from 7 August, they will be able to know the reasons for their exclusion and they will be given a chance to submit further proof of their citizenship.

But there’s a palpable fear among those who have missed out this time.

Here are a few reactions that The Quint got from the NRC Seva Kendra at Hathigaon, Guwahati.

I am really worried. I haven’t even eaten. While I am an old person, what about my son, grandchildren’s future? They can’t do anything without the NRC.
Resident, Guwahati
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I gave land documents of my grandfather, father and mother. I also gave my wife’s documents from Bihar. Even then, our name didn’t come in the NRC.
Resident, Guwahati

The final number of ‘illegal migrants’ living in Assam will be announced only when the final NRC list comes out. But there’s no time-frame for that as of now.

Nonetheless, the NRC was a massive administrative exercise. It’s only the second time that this has happened in India.

The last NRC was drawn up in 1951. The latest one took almost three years, with more than 62,000 personnel working on it, and the exercise costing the exchequer more than Rs 1,200 crore.

And the job is not complete yet. The future of 40 lakh people is still to be decided. Till then, they have to live with the fear of becoming stateless.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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