Key events leading up to India’s citizenship registry
Some key events leading up to the publication of India’s National Register of Citizens on Saturday:
—1947: British rule ends and the subcontinent is split between India and Pakistan, with millions of people migrating from one to the other.
—1948: Free movement between India and Pakistan is restricted, and India’s constitution formalizes this as the cutoff date for citizenship.
—1951: India uses a census to compile the first National Register of Citizens in Assam state.
—1955: The Citizenship Act comes into force, setting rules for Indian citizenship by birth, descent and registration.
—1961: Thousands of East Pakistani migrants are forced to leave Assam and return to East Pakistan.
—1964: Hindu-Muslim riots in East Pakistan lead to an exodus of Bengali Hindus into India.
—1965: A war between India and Pakistan forces more refugees into India through Assam.
—1971: With help from the Indian army, East Pakistan becomes independent Bangladesh, triggering a fresh wave of refugees into India.
—1979: A by-election shows conspicuously high voter rolls. Fierce protests lasting six years demand detention, disenfranchisement and deportation of migrants.
—1983: More than 2,000 Bengali migrants massacred in Assam by Lalung tribe members objecting to their occupation of land. A law stipulates that people who moved to Assam between 1966 and 1971 would lose voting rights for 10 years. Those who could not prove entry by March 24, 1971, were to be deported.
—1985: The student movement ends with the signing of the Assam Accord setting Jan. 1, 1966, as a cutoff date. Subsequent arrivals were to be deleted from India’s electoral rolls.
—2003: The Citizenship (Amendment) Act declares anyone born in India between 1950 and 1987 and any child born between 1987 and 2003 to one Indian parent is an Indian citizen.
—2013: The Supreme Court orders state authorities to expedite the counting process for updating the NRC.
—2015: Under Supreme Court monitoring, state authorities begin counting and verifying citizens.
—2016: India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party brings legislation to grant citizenship to non-Muslim minorities who migrated illegally from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
—2017: The first draft of the new NRC is published, listing 19 million names out of 32.9 million who applied.
—2018: Another draft includes 28.9 million names and excludes more than 4 million people.
—2019: The final NRC is set for publication on Aug. 31, 2019.