- The Supreme Court has tagged a petition filed by the Tripura People’s Front seeking updating of the NRC in Tripura, along with the Assam NRC case, and issued a notice to the Centre.
2. Earlier attempts by Tripura to send back immigrants:
- Tripura was a princely state prior to its merger with India on October 15, 1949.
- The Dasarath Deb-led Left Front government in Tripura signed an accord with the erstwhile militant outfit All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF) in 1993.
- It provided to send back all Bangladeshi nationals who came to the State after March 25, 1971 and were not in possession of valid documents.
3. Tripura Demographics:
- Prior to the 1951 Census, ethnic communities enlisted as Scheduled Tribes constituted the majority (52.89%) of total population in Tripura in 1901.
- However, the percentage declined to 31.78% of the total population as recorded in the 2011 Census.
- This large-scale migration of people from erstwhile East Bengal and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) changed the demography of Tripura, stoking fears among various ethnic communities, the original inhabitants, about their survival.
4. The petitioners have sought July 19, 1948 as the cut-off date in accordance with Article 6 of the Constitution.
5. Government estimates:
- According to one estimate by Ministry of labour, there was influx of an estimated 5.17 lakh refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan into Tripura between 1947 and February 1971.
- Tripura recorded influx of 13.50 lakh refugees from March 25, 1971 to September 30, 1971 following the civil war and Pakistan Army atrocities in East Pakistan during the Bangladesh liberation war.
- The cut-off date for the NRC exercise will be critical to determination of citizenship of the East Pakistan refugees and mishandling of the citizenship issue may push Tripura into a protracted conflict situation that will be difficult to resolve.
7. Constitutional guarantees regarding citizenship:
- Article 6 of the Constitution implies that a migrant from erstwhile East Pakistan is deemed to be an Indian citizen if either of his or her parents or any of his or her grandparents were born in India.
- The migrant can also be deemed a citizen if such a person migrated on or after July 19, 1948 but has been registered as a citizen of India by an officer appointed by the Government of India.