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India effectively strips four million of citizenship in Assam

GUWAHATI (AFP): India on Monday stripped four million people of citizenship in the northeastern state of Assam, under a controversial draft citizenship list that has sparked fears of deportation of largely Bengali-speaking Muslims.

“It’s a historic day for Assam and India as a whole. We have achieved a milestone of publishing the first complete draft NRC (National Register of Citizens),” Shailesh, the registrar general of India who uses one name, said at a press conference.

Those left out of the list will however get “ample opportunity” to appeal and have their names included in the final list, he added.

Thirty-six years after losing his parents, sister and a four-year-old daughter in one of India’s worst sectarian massacres, Abdul Suban says he is still trying to prove he’s a citizen of the Hindu-majority nation.

Suban is one of hundreds of thousands of Bengali-speaking Muslims categorised as “doubtful voters”, who will not find their names in a National Register of Citizens (NRC) the northeastern border state of Assam will release on Monday.

“If the government has decided to brand us foreigners what can we do?” said the 60-year-old. “NRC is trying to finish us off. Our people have died here, but we will not leave this place.”

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