People in Assam, India – level 3

05-09-2019 07:00

The National Register of Citizens (or the NRC) accounts for all the residents of the Indian state of Assam.

The finalized registry is the result of a multi-year exercise to identify undocumented immigrants to the state, which is one of India’s poorest. The NRC just published its list and nearly 2 million people (from the total of almost 31 million) are not on it.

The state of Assam is home to many immigrants from Bangladesh who are mostly Muslim. Many people believe that the registry is a way to force Muslims out of the state. Activists fear that those who are not already on the list could face persecution, jail time or deportation. Right now, they have 120 days to prove their citizenship.

To get on the list, residents had to give proof that they or their ancestors had lived in India since before 1971. That is the year that hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi immigrants fled to India after Bangladesh split from Pakistan.

Difficult words: persecution (being persecuted – oppressed, harassed), deportation (being deported – moved from a country even when you want to stay), ancestor (the people who came before you – your grandparents, great grandparents, etc.).

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