The draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), published on Monday, includes only those able to prove they were in Assam before 1971. A look at some critical questionsWho is a D-voter?Short for ‘dubious’ or ‘doubtful, this is a category of voters disenfranchised by the government for alleged lack of proper citizenship documents. Some 2.48 lakh people got the D-voter tag during NRC processWho is a declared foreigner? D-voters are tried by special tribunals under the Foreigners’ Act and if they fail to defend their citizenship claim they are marked as declared foreigners and sent to any of six detention camps, which are within jails for criminals, for deportation. There were 91,206 declared foreigners as on December 31, 2017.Why is NRC being updated in Assam? Officially, the NRC process will address the issue of illegal migrants, specifically from Bangladesh. The National Register of Citizens was first published in 1951 to record citizens, their houses and holdings. Updating the NRC to root out foreigners was a demand during the Assam Agitation (1979-1985)Why is March 24, 1971 the cut-off date?There have been several waves of migration to Assam from Bangladesh, but the biggest was in March 1971 when the Pakistan army crackdown forced many to flee to India. The Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year anti-foreigners’ agitation decided upon the midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date.Who is a citizen in Assam? The Citizenship Act of 1955 was amended after the Assam Accord for all Indian-origin people who came from Bangladesh before January 1, 1966 to be deemed as citizens. Those who came between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971 were eligible for citizenship after registering and living in the State for 10 years while those entering after March 25, 1971, were to be deported.What happens to the excluded 40 lakh? They will have to file for claims and objections and submit relevant documents for re-verification. The NRC office will issue claim forms from August 7 to 30, and these applicants would have to submit the forms from August 30 to September 28. The documents will be verified and accepted or rejected for the final NRC to be published on an unspecified date. The cases of those left out of the final NRC will be heard in the Foreigners’ Tribunals, after which applicants can approach the High Court
As protesters turned violent over amended motor vehicles Act, the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police Commissionerate launched an awareness campaign. The people and police had fought a pitched battle over the enforcement of the Act on September 7.The protesters’ resentment was primarily against steep penalties. The information regarding the amended rules will be spread through loudspeakers attached to a four-wheeler with photographs and posters displayed on it, DCP (Traffic) Sagarika Nath told the media.On the other hand, the demonstrators also demanded unconditional release of the people who were arrested following a clash with police in Bhubaneswar on September 7. Two days after the authorities faced opposition from the people, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had given three months to people to get their papers ready.The Police Commissionerate on September 10 distributed helmets to motorists who were penalised. They also distributed ‘Thank You’ notes to motorists who were following traffic rules.Meanwhile, the Transport Department offices have been witnessing a huge rush of people to apply for and renew driving licences and updating vehicle documents. The department’s offices across the State are also open on holidays to cope with the rush.State Transport Secretary G. Srinivas, who went on a surprise visit to a Regional Transport Office on September 11, said that the State government will decide about reducing the penalty rates after studying notifications issued by other States that had implemented the amended Act.During the window period of three months for people to prepare the papers, the police are focusing on drunken driving, use of mobile phones while driving, driving on the wrong side of roads, triple riding and non-usage of helmets and seat belts.