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Assam NRC: Non-inclusion doesn’t mean declared foreigner, time limit to appeal increased to 120 days

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Assam NRC: Non-inclusion doesn’t mean declared foreigner, time limit to appeal increased to 120 days

With barely ten days to August 31 deadline for the final publication of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today (Tuesday, Aug 20) said that “non-inclusion of a person’s name in the NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared as a foreigner”.

The MHA said they would be given adequate opportunity to present their case before the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs). The time limit to appeal before the FTs is also being increased from 60 to 120 days. It said that State government would also “make arrangements to provide legal aid to the needy people amongst those excluded from the NRC.” Adequate number of such tribunals was being established at convenient locations.

Home Minister Amit Shah had reviewed the NRC process with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and other senior officials on Monday.

The Ministry in its statement said, “It was decided that in order to facilitate the persons excluded from the NRC, adequate arrangements will be made by the State government to provide full opportunity to appeal against their non-inclusion.”

“Every individual, whose name does not figure in the final NRC, can represent his/her case in front of the appellate authority, i.e. Foreigners Tribunals. Under the provisions of the Foreigners Act 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964, only Foreigners Tribunals are empowered to declare a person as a foreigner. Thus, non-inclusion of a person’s name in the NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared as a foreigner.”

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“As it may not be possible for all those excluded from final NRC to file the appeal within the prescribed time, MHA will amend the rules to increase the present time limit of filing of appeals in FTs from 60 days to 120 days regarding exclusion from final NRC. The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 are also being amended accordingly,” the statement said.

In order to maintain law and order situation, central security forces were being provided as per assessment of the Assam government, the MHA said.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had indicated Monday that while the final NRC would be published on August 31, as mandated by the Supreme Court, the government could later enact a legislation on the enumeration process — if questions are raised over it.

This came a day after hundreds of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists held a demonstration outside the office of the NRC coordinator in Guwahati, calling for “re-verification” of each application for inclusion in the rolls before the final list is published.

Besides, the Hindu Jagran Manch also staged a protest demanding postponement of the publication of the final NRC so that “no illegal migrant gets into it”, to prevent the exclusion of a large number of Hindus from the NRC, the Times of India reported.

“The NRC we are going to get on August 31 will leave out many genuine Indian citizens. If it is published in its present form, we will launch an agitation. Since there are instances of legacy data misuse, re-verification is essential,” Manch president said.

The BJP-led Sarbananda Sonowal government has argued that a foolproof NRC isn’t possible without proper re-verification of citizenship claims.

BJP legislator Shiladitya Dev said “many Hindu victims of Partition and their descendants may not have made it to the NRC” in the present form and their exclusion from the final list will have a “serious impact on Assam’s identity and culture”.

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Sonowal, who held a meeting with union home minister Amit Shah, said, “In a democracy, everyone has the right to ask questions. After the publication of NRC, if necessary in future, we will take whatever steps will be required.”

Sonowal was replying to a question on whether the government will explore some legislative options to deal with those whose names may be wrongfully excluded or included in the final NRC.

Assam, which had faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC that was first prepared in 1951. The list is being updated as per the directions of the Supreme Court to segregate Indian citizens living in Assam from those who had illegally entered the State from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.

The Supreme Court has, in the past fortnight, twice rejected the State’s and the Home Ministry’s plea for re-verification. Around 41 lakh people have been excluded from the draft lists published in July 2018 and June this year. Around 36 lakh have filed claims against their exclusion and objections have been filed against two lakh inclusions. The hearing of these claims and objections are under way.

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A bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman had also said like Aadhaar data, an appropriate regime should be enacted for securing the NRC data.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays foundation stone for redevelopment of 553 railway stations at a cost of Rs 19000 crore

These redevelopment projects are spread across 27 states and union territories which were inaugurated at a cost of Rs 19000 crore. The Prime Minister’s Office emphasised that these stations will serve as City Centres seamlessly integrating both sides of the cities. These train stations will have modern passenger amenities such as roof plazas, landscaping, intermodal connectivity, improved facades, kids’ play areas, kiosks and food courts.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a series of railway infrastructure projects valued at over Rs 41,000 crore on Monday under the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme. PM Modi also laid down foundation stones for redevelopment of 553 railway stations. These redevelopment projects are spread across 27 states and union territories which were inaugurated at a cost of Rs 19000 crore.

The Prime Minister’s Office emphasised that these stations will serve as City Centres seamlessly integrating both sides of the cities. These train stations will have modern passenger amenities such as roof plazas, landscaping, intermodal connectivity, improved facades, kids’ play areas, kiosks and food courts.

These city centres have been envisioned to be environment friendly and accessible to differently-abled individuals. Their design will draw inspiration from local culture, heritage and architecture, as stated in a press release. The Indian Railways is known as the world’s busiest and oldest railway systems which serves a staggering 3.52 billion passengers and transports 1512 MT of freight in 2023.

The Railway network is known as the lifeline of India and operates over 13,000 trains daily, connecting 7,325 stations across the nation. According to the Amrit Bharat scheme aims at redeveloping 1309 stations nationwide. The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the redevelopment of 508 railway stations on Auguast 6 last year.

The primary objective of the scheme is to enhance station facilities with  modern infrastructure, including roof plazas and city centres, fostering a more convenient and comfortable experience for passengers. With a substantial allocation of over Rs 24,470 crore by the government, the initiative underscores a commitment to bolstering India’s transportation infrastructure.

 As part of the scheme, Indian railways is crafting comprehensive Master Plans, integrating urban development around railway stations. This integrated approach signifies a holistic vision aimed at fostering overall urban development which is centred on these pivotal transport hubs.

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Maratha quota protesters set state transport bus on fire in Tirthpuri city

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has filed a police complaint and all bus services have been suspended in Jalna. MSRTC’s Depot Manager of Ambad Taluka has also lodged a complaint at a local station demanding action against the accused who set the bus on fire.

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Maratha protesters set a state transport bus on fire at Chhatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj Chowk in Tirthpuri city, Ambad taluka while protesting against the state government over Maratha reservation row on Monday. After the incident a curfew has been imposed in the area to maintain law and order situation.

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has filed a police complaint and all bus services have been suspended in Jalna. MSRTC’s Depot Manager of Ambad Taluka has also lodged a complaint at a local station demanding action against the accused who set the bus on fire.  Jalna collector Srikrushna Panchal said there is a possibility that quota supporters may arrive at Antarwali Sarati village in Ambad Taluka of Jalna, where the activist has been staging a hunger strike and stop him from going to Mumbai.

The curfew order said there is a possibility that traffic on Dhule – Mumbai highway and Tehsils near Ambad may get affected. The collector said government offices, schools, movement on national highways, milk distribution, media and hospitals have been exempted from the order. Maharashtra Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar appealed to Maharashtra reservation activist Manoj Jarange Patil to protest peacefully and stated that he should ensure that nobody is harmed and law and order should be maintained in the area.

He further added everybody knows who has groomed Manoj Jarange, and whose people used to visit Manoj Patil. Maharashtra government ministers used to meet the activists. He said they are reaping what they had sown in the past.

The Maharshtra Legislative assembly (lower house) unanimously passed the Maratha reservation Bill tabled in February, which intended to extend 10% reservation to Marathas above the 50% cap. Maharashtra reservation activist Manoj Jarange Patil had demanded that the NDA government should implement the ‘Sage Soyare’ ordinance notification within 2 days, failing which the majority community in Maharashtra will launch a fresh round of agitation on February 24.

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Farmers take out tractor march near Yamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar

The Noida police had issued an advisory for daily commuters and warned them of traffic jams at many places which also included the Delhi-Noida border. The farmers are planning to carry out the tractor march along the Yamuna Expressway, Luharli Toll Plaza and Mahamaya Flyover and traffic diversions have been imposed by the police at these places.

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Farmers took out a tractor rally near the Yamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar on Monday to protest against the central government for accepting their demands, which included a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for crops. Videos showed many tractors being driven on the road. The rally was stopped by the police at the Yamuna Expressway’s entry point.

They were not allowed to carry out their rally on the expressway. The development comes even as farmers have delayed their march to the national capital till February 29 after a decision is made and are staying at the Khanauri and Shambhu points on the Punjab-Haryana border.

The Noida police had issued an advisory for daily commuters and warned them of traffic jams at many places which also included the Delhi-Noida border. The farmers are planning to carry out the tractor march along the Yamuna Expressway, Luharli Toll Plaza and Mahamaya Flyover and traffic diversions have been imposed by the police at these places.

The police have barricaded the Delhi-Noida border and police will conduct checking of vehicles entering Delhi or Noida. Daily commuters have been advised not to use the Yamuna Expressway and to use alternative routes or the metro to avoid inconveniences.

Farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa said a farmer named Pritpal Singh was doing Langar seva at the Khannauri on the Punjab-Haryana border when he was allegedly dragged by the policemen from his tractor trolley and was badly beaten. He said Pritpal Singh was admitted to a hospital in Rohtak. But he got shifted to PGIMER at Chandigarh.

Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said Pritpal Singh has suffered multiple injuries and they strongly condemn the action of the police. He said the prime minister should take action against policemen who indulge in such barbaric acts. Former Punjab chief Minister and senior BJP Leader Captain Amarinder Singh condemned the barbaric act of violence against Pritpal Singh.

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