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Indigenous groups seek apex court stay on NRC update

Guwahati, April 26: A conference of 30 organisations of the indigenous communities will appeal to the Supreme Court to stop the update of the National Register of Citizens, 1951, in Assam.
The two-day conference that concluded today was organised by the Assam Sanmilito Mahasangha in Jorhat district.
The organisation has been waging a legal battle in the Supreme Court against granting citizenship to people who entered Assam between 1951 and the midnight of March 24, 1971.
"The conference decided to make a special appeal to the Supreme Court in the first week of May to stop the NRC update, as the court is yet to decide the validity of the Section 6 (A) of the Citizenship Act," said Matiur Rahman, the working president of the organisation.
In a verdict on a case of the organisation, the Supreme Court on December 17 last year referred Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, that sets March 25, 1971 as cut-off date to grant citizenship to persons who entered Assam from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), to a Constitution bench.
Rahman said the court was supposed to constitute the Constitution bench by March but has not done so yet. Rahman said they would appeal in the court to review its last year's judgments on the NRC update issue.
The Assam government has begun the exercise to update the NRC.
It will include the names of those persons (or their descendants) who appear in the NRC 1951 or in any of the electoral rolls up to the midnight of March 24, 1971 or those who submit one of the 12 officially approved documents, such as ration card and court papers, which were issued till midnight of March 24, 1971.
According to the organisation, only those people who lived in Assam till 1951, were residents of the country and hence names of those who entered afterwards should not be entered in the updated NRC.
It argued that while 1951 is the cut-off year for citizenship across the country, it cannot be 1971 for Assam.
The organisation believes that if the NRC is updated with the current criteria, nearly 70 lakh illegal migrants from Bangladesh and Nepal will be able to enter their names in it.
"Updating the NRC with the names of people who entered Assam after 1951 is a dangerous political conspiracy to make the indigenous people of Assam a minority in their own land and depriving them of their political rights forever," Rahman said.
The conference demanded that those people who lived in Assam when the Treaty of Yandabo was signed (1826) and their descendants regarded as bona fide and privileged indigenous people of Assam.
"There is no problem in identifying those people," he said.
It said the definition of indigenous people should be based on the definition offered by the United Nations. The conference said the Assam Accord, that accepted March 25, 1971 as cut-off date, was a conspiracy to destroy the indigenous people of the state. (Source:http://www.telegraphindia.com/)

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