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Centre mulling law to make NRC exercise irreversible

Amit Shah
 NEW DELHI, July 17 - In a move that is likely to have wider ramifications, the Centre is mulling to introduce a legislation to make the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) exercise irreversible.

According to highly placed sources, the legislation being proposed to be introduced in the Parliament will make it legally binding on any government to take forward the NRC update process. The Bill is also likely to have a provision to extend the NRC update process countrywide, a promise the BJP has been making.

Further, the Centre has decided to reintroduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, sources added.

However, an aspect that the government has been examining is whether the deadline of July 31 for publication of the final NRC in Assam can be legally extended, sources disclosed.

So far, the Supreme Court is sticking with the deadline of July 31 for publication of the NRC.

Sources said the Centre and the State government have been planning to approach the apex court seeking an extension of the deadline for publication of the final NRC citing the current floods in Assam.

Sources said that the BJP government at the Centre is determined to make the NRC exercise permanent and the proposed legislation will make it “impossible” for any regime (Congress party) to change it.

However, the government of the day is determined to safeguard the interest of the Hindu Bengalis and the legislation may have some provisions to provide shelter to those who have fled to India on account of religious persecution in countries like Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, sources said.

Meanwhile, in Rajya Sabha today, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the government will identify illegal immigrants staying in any part of the country and deport them as per international law. The minister was replying to a supplementary query by Samajwadi Party member Javed Ali Khan on whether the NRC will be implemented in other states as well.

“It is a very good question. The NRC is part of the Assam Accord and was also in (BJP’s) election manifesto based on which the government has come to power. The government will identify illegal immigrants living on every inch of the country’s soil and will deport them as per international law,” Shah said.

Noting that the Centre has received many representations for extending the NRC deadline in Assam, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said a petition, signed by about 25 lakh applicants and submitted to the Centre and the President, demanded extension of the deadline to correct the anomalies.

Since many genuine names have been left out and many bogus names are registered, the minister said, the government has requested the (Supreme) Court to extend the time for this purpose.

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