Nearly 2 million people in India have just been rendered stateless by a bureaucratic act

oday in the northeastern state of Assam, in India, authorities published the latest version of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The list is pretty much what it sounds like—a compilation of names of local residents who are considered Indian. Almost 2 million people, including decorated war veterans and even a state legislator, were not listed and will now have to quickly prove their citizenship or risk detention.

Residents could learn their status, whether included on the NRC or excluded, by checking the register’s website or at local help centers. However, the NRC website crashed soon after the list was published, though it appears to be back online now.

To demonstrate they belonged on the register, residents had to show that they or their forebears were in India before 1971. The controversial list is unique to the state of Assam, which neighbors Bangladesh (though there’s been some talk of implementing it nationwide). It’s been in existence since 1951 and, some say, is not just aimed at migration, as stated by authorities, but is also intended to target the Muslim minority, which makes up a third of the local population.

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