India government declares 1.9 million people illegal citizens

The India government has published the final version of a list which effectively strips about 1.9 million people in the north-eastern state of Assam of their citizenship.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a list of people who can prove they came to the state by 24 March 1971, the day before neighbouring Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan.

People left off the list will have 120 days to appeal against their exclusion. Its however unclear what happens next.

India says the process is needed to identify illegal Bangladeshi migrants. It has already detained thousands of people suspected of being foreigners in temporary camps which are housed in the state’s prisons, but deportation is currently not an option for the country.

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The process has also sparked criticism of “witch hunts” against Assam’s ethnic minorities. A draft version of the list published last year had four million people excluded.

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