People wait to check their names on the final draft of the Assam's National Register of Citizens
People wait to check their names on the final draft of the state's National Register of Citizens at an NRC Seva Kendra in Tezpur | PTI
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New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs Wednesday clarified that no region of Assam has been marked as a restricted or protected area, and foreign journalists can visit the state, provided they obtain a permit from the government.

The ministry posted the clarification on Twitter after a report in the Assam Tribune claimed that Assam had been given the protected status, and all foreign journalists were asked to immediately leave the state. The ministry said the piece of information was “misleading and incorrect”.

“Neither MHA nor MEA has given any information as mentioned. The responsibility of publication of such information, and consequences thereof, lie entirely with the media house concerned,” it tweeted.

“Any foreign journalist, whether already based in India or not, can visit Assam after taking permission of MEA… MHA is consulted internally by MEA before issuing this permission. There is no PAP or RAP area in the state of Assam. Thus no PAP or RAP is needed by a foreign journalist,” the ministry said in a subsequent tweet.

 

PAP (Protected Area Permit) and RAP (Restricted Area Permit) are required by foreigners seeking to travel to protected and restricted areas in the country, which include Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland. According to guidelines issued by the ministry, applicants are required to register themselves with the Foreigners Registration Officer of the state/district they visit within 24 hours of their arrival.

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According to the Assam Tribune report, a foreign journalist reporting in the state was escorted to the airport by the police and sent to Delhi. The journalist was reportedly told that she needed permission from the MEA to enter the state.

Assam is at the centre of media focus following the release of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list on 31 August. The exercise, meant to document Indian citizens in the state, resulted in around 19 lakh people being left out, effectively making them foreigners.

The exercise has been a source of uncertainty and anxiety for locals as the missing names include members from the same family who have been deemed Indian citizens.


Also read: For Assam’s ‘foreigners’ who suffered in detention camps, NRC doesn’t mean end of troubles


 

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1 Comment Share Your Views

1 COMMENT

  1. Do foreign journalists posted in the US need a permit to visit Alaska. The Indian state is becoming a little arthritic while dealing with the media. That itself becomes part of the country’s global image.

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