File Photo: Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. Photograph:( ANI )
'It also does not make him or her a 'foreigner' within the legal meaning of the term. They will not be deprived of any rights or entitlements which they have enjoyed before,' Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
India on Sunday said people excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam have not become "stateless" and will enjoy all rights as before till they exhaust all remedies available under the law.
"Exclusion from the NRC has no implication on the rights of an individual resident in Assam. For those who are not in the final list will not be detained and will continue to enjoy all the rights as before till they have exhausted all the remedies available under the law. It does not make the excluded person 'stateless'," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
"It also does not make him or her a 'foreigner' within the legal meaning of the term. They will not be deprived of any rights or entitlements which they have enjoyed before," he noted at a press conference here.
He termed as "incorrect" commentaries in sections of the foreign media about aspects of the final NRC.
Kumar said updating of the NRC is a statutory, transparent, legal process mandated by the Supreme Court and this is not an executive-driven process.
"The process is being monitored by the Supreme Court directly and the government is acting in accordance with the directives issued by the court. The apex court of the land has itself set the deadlines for all steps that have been taken so far," he said.
Stressing that the NRC is a fair process based on scientific methods, Kumar said, "Inclusion in the NRC is a unique process, as it is based on 'application rather than 'house to house enumeration'. It means that any person in Assam could have sought to be included in the list on the basis of having documentation to prove lineage from an entitled person -- a person who was a resident of Assam as on March 24, 1971."
The NRC is a non-discriminatory process, which leaves "no room for bias and injustice".
As can be seen from the application form for data entry in NRC, there was no column in the application, asking for the "religion of the applicant", the MEA spokesperson said.
Anyone excluded from the list at this stage has a right to file an appeal within 120 days before a designated Foreigners Tribunal of receiving the notification of exclusion, Kumar said.
"All appeals and excluded cases will be examined by this Tribunal i.e. a judicial process. This judicial process will commence only after the appellate period is over. Thereafter, anyone still aggrieved by any decision of being excluded will have the right to approach the High Court of Assam and then the Supreme Court," he said.
Over 19 lakh people were excluded from the final NRC list that was published on Saturday.
"A total of 3,11,21,004 persons are found eligible for inclusion in final NRC, leaving out 19,06,657 persons, including those who did not submit their claims," NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela had said.
The list is aimed at segregating Indian citizens living in Assam from those who had illegally entered the state from Bangladesh.