(TELESUR) – Nearly 2 million people have been left off a list of citizens released Saturday in India’s northeastern state of Assam, after a mammoth years-long exercise to remove so-called illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.
Officials checked documents submitted by roughly 33 million people for a draft released last year of a National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, which left out more than 4 million residents of the state, many of them Hindu.
But 31.1 million people now make up the final list, with 1.9 million excluded, said Prateek Hajela, the coordinator of the state’s register.
“Any person who is not satisfied with the outcome of the claims and objections can file an appeal before the foreigners’ tribunals,” Hajela said in a statement, adding that everyone had received an adequate hearing.
Critics accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party of stoking sentiment against illegal immigrants and misusing the register to target even legal Muslim citizens.
His close aide, Home Minister Amit Shah, has previously vowed to weed out illegal immigrants, calling them “termites”.
He also said previously that Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists do not have to worry about NRC. However, after a large number of Hindus were excluded from the list the ruling party members have been criticizing the NRC.