Doubtful voters

Guwahati, March 21: Assam currently has 99,942 Doubtful voters (D-voters), while more than 33,000 such people were declared foreigners since 2017, the state assembly was informed by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

D-voters are those who could not provide evidence in favour of their Indian nationality.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, replying to a question by Congress MLA Abdur Rashid Mandal, said the number of D-voters in the state is 99,942 as on February 1.

Sonitpur and Barpeta districts topped the chart with 15,835 and 15,232 D-voters respectively.

The number of cases pending before the Foreigners Tribunal, which determines the citizenship of these people, is 1,05,826 as on February 1, 2023.

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The total number of cases disposed of by the FTs from January 1, 2017, to February 1, 2023, is 1,41,553, Sarma said.

During the same period, 15,151 D-voters were declared as Indian citizens by the FTs and 33,033 as foreigners, Sarma, who also holds the Home department, added.

The issue of D-voters is one of the most contentious topics in Assam’s political and social sphere. Several elections have been fought and won over this single issue of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who are initially marked as D-voters if their names are found in the electoral rolls.

The concept of D-voters was introduced in Assam in 1997 by the Election Commission. It does not exist anywhere else in India.