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Those excluded from the list have 120 days to file appeals before Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam

More than 19 lakh of the 3.3 crore applicants have been left out of Assam’s final National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was published on Saturday, concluding a five-year, Supreme Court-monitored exercise that cost ₹1,220 crore.

Updating the NRC to sift Indians from illegal immigrants, believed to have come mostly from Bangladesh, has been a 40-year-old demand that started in 1980 during the anti-foreigners’ Assam Agitation. The 1985 Assam Accord ending that agitation had incorporated this demand and prescribed 1971 as the base year for detecting and deporting foreigners in the State.

The final version of the NRC contains the names of 3,11,21,004 of the total of 3,30,27,661 people who had applied for inclusion in the document. The 19,06,657 people excluded make up 46.39% of the 41.09 lakh people who were left out of the draft list published on July 30, 2018, and an additional list a year later.

Officials said those excluded cannot technically be called foreigners as they have legal options to challenge their exclusion from the NRC. Each of them has 120 days to appeal before the Foreigners’ Tribunals, which in turn have six months to dispose of the cases. The appellants can thereafter approach the Gauhati High Court and the Supreme Court to establish their citizenship with proper documents or end up in detention camps for foreigners.

State-specific

Releasing the final data, NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela said the process of the NRC update in Assam differs from the rest of the country and is governed by rules framed as per the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, enshrined in the Assam Accord. “Updating the NRC was a mammoth exercise involving about 52,000 Assam government officials working for a prolonged period,” he said.

Former envoy has a word of caution on Delhi’s role in a post-U.S. Kabul

Ahmad Shah Massoud, the commander of the Northern Alliance. AFPJOEL ROBINE

India must not commit the error of placing Indian troops on Afghan soil, says the diplomat who coordinated New Delhi’s secret military assistance to Ahmad Shah Massoud, the military commander of the Northern Alliance, who fought the Taliban and U.S. forces till his assassination in 2001.

For four years, between 1996 and 2000, till he left the Tajik capital Dushanbe to take up his new posting, Ambassador Bharath Raj Muthu Kumar coordinated military and medical assistance that India was secretly giving to Massoud and his forces.

It all began, says Mr. Muthu Kumar, exactly a week after September 26, 1996, when the Taliban, backed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), took over Kabul, shot former President Najibullah dead, castrated him, and hung his body from a lamp post. Hours before that happened, Indian Embassy staff members scrambled into the last plane out of a country that had begun its descent into hell.

Amrullah Saleh, who looked after Kabul’s interests in the Tajik capital, called Mr. Muthu Kumar to inform him that the “Commander” would like to meet him.

He has been charge-sheeted for abetment of suicide, cruelty

More trouble: Shashi Tharoor is out on bail now in the case of death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.

The Delhi police on Saturday urged a city court to prosecute Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for abetment to suicide or “in alternative” on murder charge in the case of death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar in 2014. It made a submission on Saturday that the post-mortem report had evidence of murder.

Sunanda was found dead in a five-star hotel here on January 17, 2014. The police have charge-sheeted Mr. Tharoor under Sections 306 (abetting in the commission of suicide) and 498A (subjecting a married woman to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code. The court took cognisance of the charge sheet and summoned Mr. Tharoor last year. He is out on bail now.

In his arguments on the framing of charges before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar, Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava urged the court to frame both charges against Mr. Tharoor and decide which of the two offences was proved or not proved in the trial. Section 221 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides for framing of charges in such a manner when there is a doubt about which of several offences an accused has committed, he said.

The prosecution concluded its arguments. The matter will now come up for hearing on October 17 when defence counsel will begin arguments. Mr. Srivastava had also argued that there was sufficient material on record to prove the charges against Mr. Tharoor of subjecting Pushkar to cruelty and thereby abetting in her suicide.

(With inputs from PTI)

Police book him for protesting Pudukottai officials’ failure to remove encroachments

Novel protest: The notice that caused sensation in Pudukottai.

It was not just his activism that landed 39-year-old Durai Guna alias Gunasekaran in trouble. His novel ways of protesting had a role to play too.

A few days ago, residents of Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu woke up to posters he had pasted all over town, calling for applications to fill the ‘vacant posts’ of District Collector, District Revenue Officer and other officials.

A Dalit social activist and writer based in Pudukottai, Mr. Durai Guna put up the posters to protest “official inaction” on his plea to remove encroachments from an irrigation tank.

He alleged that three persons were illegally occupying three hectares of the Vettukulam tank, and were raising crops.

He had petitioned the Collector and other officials in 2017, urging them to clear the encroachments as per High Court and Supreme Court orders. There was no action. The activist then put up the posters and hand bills.

The notices “invited” applications for the posts of Collector, DRO, Divisional Revenue Officer and Village Administrative Officer. The qualifications were “general knowledge, discipline and self respect”.

Recommendations of Ministers and others would not be entertained, the notices said.

Complaint filed

The VAO of Theerthanviduthi filed a complaint against Mr. Guna alleging insult to officials. Based on this, the Karambakudi police booked a case against him under IPC provisions: Section 170 (pretending to hold any post as a public servant) and 501 (printing any matter known to be defamatory). However, he had not been arrested.

Mr. Guna was outraged: “I am really perturbed over the case filed against me. The officials, instead of taking action against the encroachers, have threatened me by filing a case. It is an attempt to stifle my voice,” he said.

Meanwhile, Collector P. Uma Maheswari said it had been established that three hectares of Vettukulam had been encroached by three persons for more than 30 years. One of them had an unregistered sale deed, claiming that he had bought the land from an individual several years ago. But, it had been established that the land was part of a Panchayat Union tank. The encroachers had been asked to vacate immediately.

State BJP chief says he would broach matter with Amit Shah

Manoj Tiwari

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari on Saturday reiterated his demand for an exercise similar to Assam’s National Register of Citizens in the Capital. While the country, he said, was always willing to welcome those seeking refuge in it legally, “it would not tolerate infiltrators”.

The North East Delhi MP argued that an NRC exercise was necessary in Delhi to address issues ranging from prevention of possible terror plots to reining in street crimes, drug trafficking, enhancing women’s safety and checking “encroachment of both land and rights meant for legal citizens by illegal outsiders”.

“Our city is sitting on several possible terror plots which could be hatched by any of the 10 to 12 lakh illegal immigrants currently residing in it. An exercise like the NRC has become necessity not only in the interest of Delhi but also for the security of the entire country,” Mr. Tiwari said, adding that he would broach the matter with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Wait and watch

“As far as the timing of the exercise in Delhi is concerned, things will become clearer as the exercise reaches its conclusion in Assam; in the meantime, I would like to ask colleagues from all political parties, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, to make their stand on the issue known,” the BJP leader said.

He said that illegal Bangladeshis and Rohingya refugees were depriving citizens of their rights and “exploiting the resources of Delhi”.

At a rally in September last year, Mr. Tiwari had announced that the BJP government would initiate the NRC process in Delhi and “take action against infiltrators”.

“I firmly believe that illegal migrants in Delhi are depriving locals of rights and opportunities whether these be related to Central government schemes such as the provision of housing, employment and health facilities,” he said.

“After the preparation of NRC, Delhi will change for the better and the people entitled to basic amenities of high standard will get them. All political parties should unite on the issue of NRC because it is a question of internal and economic security,” he said.

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