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Congress will stand by all genuine Indian citizens left out of NRC: Party leaders


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi held discussions with top party leaders on issues related to the NRC, after the updated final list of the register was released on Saturday, shutting out citizenship claims of over 19 lakh applicants in Assam.
The party leadership has sought details of people left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and is working out a plan with its functionaries in Assam to help and provide legal aid to those affected, sources said.
Senior Congress leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Ahmed Patel, A K Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Mukul Sangma and Gaurav Gogoi, were present at the meeting.
The Congress will stand by all those genuine citizens who have been left out of the NRC and will continue to fight for them and provide legal aid, Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, adding that genuine citizens must be protected and included in the NRC.
"The NRC has come out after an extensive exercise monitored by the Supreme Court. We are demanding that genuine citizens should not be left out. We are putting pressure for including them in the NRC," he told PTI.
The BJP propaganda on this issue has been debunked and they cannot run away or pass the buck now as it is their government in Assam, Chowdhury said.
The Congress is already providing legal aid to those affected and will stand by them till they are included, he said.
Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said district-wise details of people have been sought from party leaders in Assam. The Congress stands by every genuine Indian citizen and it will provide legal aid to those affected, he asserted.
"Every section of Assam is unhappy with the status of the NRC. Even BJP ministers are complaining about it. There has been careless implementation of the NRC as many genuine Indian citizens will have to unnecessarily face the courts. The Congress will provide all help to them as the nation is above politics," Gogoi said.
Congress leader Mukul Sangma said the NRC is an exercise under the Assam Accord and " the stand of our party is very clear that the rights of real citizen should be safeguarded".
The updated final NRC, which validates bonafide Indian citizens of Assam, was released on Saturday, with the register conducting the exercise shutting out the citizenship claims of over 19 lakh applicants who now face an uncertain future.
A total of 3,30,27,661 people had applied to be included in the NRC. Of them, 3,11,21,004 have been included in the document and 19,06,657 excluded, a statement from the NRC State Coordinator's office said.
Those who have been excluded from the NRC have 120 days to appeal against it at Foreigners Tribunals. If not satisfied with the verdict of the tribunals, they will have the option to move the High Court and the Supreme Court for redress.
In order to assuage the fears of those who could be excluded from the final list, the Assam government has already ruled out their detention "in any circumstances" till the time Foreigners Tribunals declare them foreigners.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi tweeted, "Up to 4 million Indian citizens could be made stateless tomorrow if they are not included on National Register of Citizens (NRC)."

"A thought process of inclusion/exclusion, even if it errs on the side of illegals, is not as bad as declaring your own illegal," he said.
A Congress leader pointed out that a BJP minister in Assam Hemanta Biswa Sarma has said that their only concern now is to maintain law and order in the state after the publication of the NRC list.
People should not panic even after their names are dropped from NRC as all those excluded can move the Foreigner Tribunals and challenge their exclusion within 120 days, he said.

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First Published: Aug 31 2019 | 9:10 PM IST

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