In India’s Assam State, Residents Of River Islands Face Uncertainty Over Citizenship – By CK Vijayakumar
…Many of those living on the chars of lower Assam are Muslims of Bengali origin. Their lives keep shifting like the islands they live on. Assam borders Bangladesh and has long been home to migrants from there. For decades, the Indian government has been conducting a special census in Assam, called the National Register of Citizens, to try to figure out who is a valid Indian citizen – and who might be an undocumented migrant.
Residents of Assam must submit paperwork – birth certificates, high school diplomas and other documents – to prove their citizenship. But literacy rates are low, and poverty runs high. Many people find it difficult to provide those documents.
Last year, the state government issued a draft NRC list, and some 4 million people living in Assam who thought they were Indian citizens were left off. This comes against a backdrop of efforts by India’s central government to pass a bill that would effectively grant citizenship to many other undocumented immigrants, except if they are Muslim.…
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