India : Nearly two million Muslims stripped of their citizenship

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Following a census of the population of the state of Assam (India) which has 33 million inhabitants, the Supreme Court released Saturday, the new list of citizens (National Register of Citizens). The judicial body learned through it that 1.9 million inhabitants, most of which are Muslims, are to be deprived of their citizenship, thus becoming stateless. Indeed, French newspaper Le Monde emphasizes that people not on the updated register would henceforth be considered «illegal aliens».

The French media recalls that in July 2018, a provisional version of the list excluded four million citizens. «They had until December 31, 2018 to appeal and attempt to provide additional documents, attesting to their Indian citizenship; half could be reintegrated», the same source explains. 

According to Le Monde, this census began four years ago, under the first term of the current head of the government Narendra Modi, who is not however at the origin of the initiative. Indeed, it is the Supreme Court, which «demanded in 2013 the implementation of the census, an old decision (1985) that had never been applied», says the newspaper, adding that it is also the supporters of Modi who «acted locally to implement and appoint magistrates» responsible for this project.

The latter has provoked the ire of the opposition parties since 2016, with the multiplication of accusations to the government of «playing on divisions between communities», and concerns were expressed about a «bloodbath» that could be caused by the publication of the definitive list.

Despite this challenge, Amit Shah, who is currently Interior Minister, is implementing what was considered one of his election promises. The minister, who is also President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the same party that Modi belongs to, had also promised last April to «eliminate all infiltrators in the country except Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs».

In a statement sent to Yabiladi this week, the Indian Embassy in Rabat stated that the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) is «a non-discriminatory process».

The statement indicates that the process is a «statutory, transparent, and legal mandated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India» and is one that aligns with the «Assam Accord signed in 1985 between the Government of India, state government of Assam, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and All Assam Gan Sangram Parishad (AAGSP)».

«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 same source concluded.

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