A day ahead of the publication of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday again assured that no one would be sent to detention camps nor treated as a foreigner if his or her name does not appear in the draft. He said that they would get ample time to get this rectified as “adequate opportunity will be given for filing claims and objections”.
In an interview to The Indian Express, Sonowal also said that there should not be any insecurity or fear among people because “the entire NRC is being carried out in an impartial, transparent and meticulous manner, and would continue to remain the same”.
The CM, who has held a series of meetings with officials and police top brass in the last few days, said his government has taken all possible steps to ensure that law and order is maintained after the publication of the NRC draft, including guarding against fake news and messages over social media. Sonowal said the state government had put in a place a system for legal action against those who spread such rumours.
READ | Sarbananda Sonowal interview
However, he refused to answer whether his earlier statement that the government would not give any constitutional rights to people who failed to make it to the final NRC list, once that is ready, would stand. Reiterating that the priority was to “identify foreigners”, he said, “What steps the government takes will come next.”
Sonowal denied the accusation that the NRC draft fits in well with the BJP’s communal politics, and that the ruling party may use it to target even legal Muslim citizens. The entire process was being monitored by the Supreme Court, he said. “The final NRC has come up through a legal process under the supervision of the apex court and will definitely provide a tool to make a distinction between a bona fide Indian and a foreigner.”
A former student union leader, Sonowal began his political career with the agenda of fighting illegal migration in Assam, and on the day he was sworn in as CM, May 25, 2016, he had visited an NRC office before going to his own office.