National Register of Citizens Current Affairs - 2019
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Governor of Assam has extended application of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in the entire state for six more months with immediate effect. For this, it used powers conferred under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 declaring entire state as ‘Disturbed Area’ upto 6 months or unless withdrawn earlier.
Reason for extension
This decision was taken as precautionary measure to maintain law and order during ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) update process during the ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) update process. The final draft NRC is likely to be published by end of 2018. In September 2017, Union Home Ministry had delegated to Assam and Manipur Governors power to impose or withdraw AFSPA.
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)
AFSPA was enacted in 1958 to bring ‘disturbed’ areas declared under it under control. It empowers both state and central government to declare areas as ‘disturbed’ due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
Declaration of Disturbed area: The section (3) of the Act empowers governor of State/UT to issue an official notification in Gazette of India, following which Centre has authority to send in armed forces for civilian aid. Once declared ‘disturbed’, the region has to maintain status quo for a minimum of three months.
Special powers to armed forces: The Act gives special powers to army and state and central police forces to shoot to kill, search houses and destroy any property used by insurgents in disturbed areas. It also provides army personnel with safeguards against malicious, vindictive and frivolous prosecution.
Note: At present, the AFSA has been enforced in 6 states viz. Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh (only the Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts plus 20-km belt bordering Assam), Manipur (except Imphal municipal area), Meghalaya (confined to 20-km belt bordering Assam) and Jammu and Kashmir.
Supreme Court has extended deadline for publication of final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) from earlier June 30, 2018 to July 31, 2018. This extension comes after Central Government and the state coordinator of NRC agreed to publish it within the new time limit.
The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam. The major northeastern state had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since early 20th century. It is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951. SC for giving extension to deadline had considered report of state NRC coordinator. The report had mentioned that it would be not be possible to release final draft of the NRC as scheduled on June 30, 2018 due to the floods in state.
National Register of Citizens (NRC)
NRC contains the names of bona fide Indian Citizens of Assam that distinguish them from the foreigners. It is updated periodically. However, in Assam the updation could not be carried on since 1951 due to various political tensions such as Assam Movement of 1980s, the language movement and other ethnic movements.
It was first updated in 1951 but since then it has been not updated due to various political tensions such as Assam Movement of 1980s, language movement and other ethnic movements. But now it is being updated in time bound manner after Supreme Court judgment (2014) to incorporate Assam Accord of 1985 in order to tackle the issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh.
NRC is being updated as per provisions of Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. It will include names of person or their descendants whose name appear in NRC 1951 or any of Electoral Rolls up to midnight of 24th March 1971.
The actual implementation of NRC is done by Statutory Authorities i.e. Local Registrars and District Magistrates appointed by State Government. A senior official of State Government functions as State Coordinator and coordinates with Registrar General of Citizen Registration (RGI) in regard to various activities.