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All about the NRC
Since the government has released the second draft of the NRC (National Register of Citizens), the country has been in a state of confusion in relation to citizenship and particularly the people of Assam.

Let us first understand the difference between the primary citizenship of India and the citizenship of Assam.

Back in 1950 when our Constitution came into effect, a person automatically became a citizen of India if either he or his parents were born in India. 

Then came the citizenship act of 1955 which to an extent tried to clear the confusion of citizenship by granting citizenship to people on the basis of birth date. As per its provisions:

1.     Anyone born between 26 January 1950 and 1 July 1987 is a citizen of India by birth.

2.     Anyone born between 1 July 1987 and 3 December 2004 is a citizen by birth if either of his parents is a citizen of India.

3.     Anyone born after December 3, 2004 is a citizen of India if both of his parents are citizens of India or if one parent is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant. 

But why this confusion in Assam? 

The question on Assam’s citizenship is different because of constant migration in and out of the state since independence.

Assam shares it border with West Bengal and neighbouring country Bangladesh. This makes the state vulnerable to migration from both ends. Two major migrations had taken place during the partition of East Pakistan from India in 1949 and later during the liberation of Bangladesh from West Pakistan in 1971. 

The boost in population of migrants is Assam led to students' agitation during 1979-1985 by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) which forced the then Rajiv Gandhi government to sign the Assam Accord in 1985 under which illegal migrants were to be identified and deported. 

According to the Assam Accord:

1. Any person who was a resident of Assam since before 1 January 1966 is a citizen.

2. Migrants who entered Assam between 1 January 1966 and 25 March 1971 would have to register themselves with the foreign tribunal. They will have all the rights except for the right to vote.

3. Migratnts who entered on or after 25 March 1971 are not eligible for citizenship. 

Now, 25 March 1971 is the cutoff date for NRC. That means that for a person to be decaled as a citizen of India, he will have to prove that either his or his parents were residing in Assam since before March 25, 1971. 

What to do if your name is not on the NRC list? 

The forty lakh people who have been excluded from the NRC need not panic as this is just a draft and not the final list. People will get enough chances to prove their citizenship and the state itself will help them arrange the documents. Moreover, the Supreme Court on Tuesday told the Centre that no coercive action should be taken against the people whose names were excluded from the NRC list.

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