The New Observer, August 9, 2018
The Indian government has stripped at least four million people — mainly “refugees” from Bangladesh who entered the country in 1971 — of their right to Indian citizenship in the state of Assam and has started deporting them, all to “protect the ethnic Assamese” people.
Residents were asked to prove that they or their families lived in the country before March 1971, when a wave of “refugees” fleeing conflict in neighboring Bangladesh settled in the border state.
Of the more than 32 million people who applied to be recognized on the register of Indian citizens, 4,007,707 were rejected, registrar general Sailesh told reporters in the state’s capital, Gauhati.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, which came to power in the state in 2016, says the “new citizenship test aims to protect ethnic Assamese and crack down on illegal migration.”
To prevent further unrest, thousands of paramilitary forces were deployed to the state ahead of the release of the draft list.
* India also runs a racially-based citizenship service for any person of “Indian origin,” born or living in any country of the world. The scheme, which used to be known as the “Person of Indian Origin Card” (POIC) is now called the “Overseas Citizenship of India” (OCI) system.
The OCI system grants any person of “Indian origin” the right to live and work indefinitely in the Republic of India. To apply for and use an OCI document, a holder must be a citizen of and hold a passport of another country, except that of Pakistan and Bangladesh.