New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise will be carried out across the country and will cover everyone irrespective of religion.

“NRC has no such provision which says that certain religions will be excluded from it. All citizens of India irrespective of religion will figure in the NRC list. The NRC is different from Citizenship Amendment Bill,” Shah announced in the Rajya Sabha.

“The process of NRC will be carried out across the country. No one, irrespective of religion should be worried, it is just a process to get everyone under the NRC,” he added.

Notably, the NRC exercise was recently conducted in Assam, the final list of which was released on August 31. Over 19 lakh people out of 3.3 crore applicants were excluded from the final list.

Shah reiterated that those who were not included in the final list of NRC in Assam, they have the right to go to Tribunal. “Tribunals will be constituted across Assam. For those who can’t afford legal counsel for the Tribunal, the Assam government will bear the cost to hire a lawyer.”

The Home Minister then went on to highlight the difference between Citizenship Amendment Bill and the NRC, saying that the former is needed so that Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Christian, Parsi refugees who are being discriminated on basis of religion in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan, could get Indian citizenship.

“Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Christian, Parsi refugees should get citizenship, that is why Citizenship Amendment Bill is needed so that these refugees who are being discriminated on basis of religion in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan, get Indian citizenship,” said Shah.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, aims at granting citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.