MHA refutes media reports, says foreign journalist can visit Assam after MEA’s permission


New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday refuted as “misleading and incorrect”, the media reports claiming Assam being placed under protected area category by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) following the controversy generated by the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The MHA issued a clarification after a media report said that all foreign journalists working in Assam have been asked to leave the state and claimed that a female reporter was recently escorted by the Assam Police to the airport and put in the next available flight to Delhi.

“The information provided in this article is 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,” tweeted the MHA spokesperson.

The Spokesperson said any foreign journalist, whether already based in India or not, can visit Assam after taking the permission of the MEA.

“The MHA is consulted internally by MEA before issuing this permission. There is no PAP (Protected Area Permit) or RAP Restricted Area Permit (RAP) area in the state of Assam. Thus no PAP or RAP is needed by a foreign journalist,” the ministry said.

The media report claimed, quoting Home Ministry sources that till now foreign media were barred from entering only Jammu and Kashmir and a few hills states of the Northeast on reporting assignments but now, Assam has been added in the protected area list along with other northeastern states.

The final list of Assam’s National Register of Citizens was released on August 31, 2019.

More than 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were left out of the final National Register of Citizens. A total of 3,11,21,004 persons found eligible for inclusion in the final NRC list.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has assured that those excluded in the final list will not be immediately sent to dentition centres and they can appeal. (ANI)