The row over the publication of the National Register of Citizens(NRC) in Assam on Monday echoed in Parliament where Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserted the Centre has no role in the preparation of the draft list and it was done on the directives of the Supreme Court.
Singh also asked the opposition parties not to create panic and to politicise the "sensitive" issue.
As the Trinamool Congress(TMC), the Samajwadi Party(SP) and other opposition parties triggered an uproar in the Rajya Sabha leading to the adjournment of the House ahead of schedule, Singh told the Lok Sabha that allegations against the government were baseless.
In the Lok Sabha, the TMC, Congress, CPI(M) and the SP criticised the Centre over the publication of the list, saying it puts "human rights and democratic rights" of people at stake.
Over 40 lakh people in Assam have been left out from the the NRC, which is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam. The second draft of the NRC was published on Monday in Guwahati.
Singh said the NRC was being demanded in Assam for a long time and the previous state government had set up foreign tribunals following the Supreme Court order.
"In publishing NRC, the government has done nothing. Everything is being done as per Supreme Court order. The allegation of the opposition against the government is baseless," Singh said.
He appealed to opposition members not to create "panic" since it is a "sensitive issue".
"The government is not doing anything. Whatever is happening is under the supervision of the Supreme Court," Singh said.
Singh said the NRC list published today is not the final list and applicants will have the option of raising claims and objections.
"People who feel their name should have been part of the NRC can file claims and objections. In how much time those claims and objections would be
disposed off that will be decided by the Supreme Court," he added.
Asking the opposition to list out what role the government has played in the NRC, Singh said, "It is a sensitive issue and should not be politicised unnecessarily".
Unsatisfied with the Minister's response, an unrelenting opposition staged a walkout from the House.
The Trinamool Congress had moved an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha on the NRC issue, which was not taken up by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Asking where the 40 lakh people will go, Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC) asked the Centre to ensure that justice should not be denied to the people who have been living in Assam for decades now.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said "original citizens" of the state are being asked questions and this is creating division in the state based on caste and creed.
Mohd Saleem (CPI-M) said the situation in Assam is fragile and "human rights and democratic rights" of the people of the state are at stake.
Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav (SP) said the move would lead to "hatred" and "violence" in Assam and dubbed it as a "war on people" who are living in the state for the last 40 years.
The Rajya Sabha witnessed three adjournmments earlier in the day due to the continued uproar over the issue before the Chair called it a day at 2:13 pm.
When the House reconvened at 2 pm after the last adjournment, TMC leader Derek O'Brien stood up demanding a discussion on the notice given by him on the NRC.
However, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he had taken the initiative earlier in the day and even called Home Minister Rajnath Singh to the House to respond on the issue, but the House was not in order.
Later, O'Brien told reporters that TMC has decided to circulate a note on NRC among other political parties.
"We think the NRC is inhuman and violates human rights. We would circulate a note on it among all political parties," he said.
Alleging that the government did not consult West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on the issue, the TMC leader said that a delegation of party MPs would soon visit Assam.
Mamata Banerjee slams Centre over NRC release, says Indian citizens have become refugees in their own land
Expressing concern over the exclusion of over 40 lakh people in the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said those "Indian citizens have become refugees in their own land".
She also questioned the transparency of the final NRC draft, alleging that the Centre resorted to "vote bank and divide and rule policy".
The much-awaited complete NRC draft was published today amid tight security. The list featured over 2.89 crore names out of nearly 3.29 crore applicants in Assam.
Around 40.07 lakh applicants, however, did not find a place in the document, touted to be a proof of Assamese identity.
Banerjee alleged that the exclusion of over 40 lakh people was an "attempt to evict the Bengalis from Assam".
"I am fighting for the Bengalis, Biharis and all. They are very much Indians. I am fighting for everybody," she said.
Before leaving for Delhi, Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat that she would try to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the issue.
"I will try to seek appointment with the Home Minister in Delhi and want to talk to him on the issue. I would like to appeal to him through the media to save these people and not to isolate them only for the cause of vote bank," she said.
The chief minister alleged that the Centre was trying to resort to "divide and rule and vote bank politics" keeping in mind the coming general elections.
"This is absolutely vote bank politics and election agenda. This isolation has been done keeping in mind as to who can vote for the BJP and who cannot vote for them," she alleged.
Banerjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress chief, said the Centre can come up with a bill to protect the people who are staying in Assam for such a long time.
"The Parliament can amend the law or can bring in a new bill which can save these people," she said.
Stating that it is "very unfortunate" that those who are staying in Assam for five generations have become refugees because of the BJP government, she said, "I am sending a team of party MPs to Assam and if necessary I will go there too."
Asked whether West Bengal would give shelter to those whose names have not appeared in the final NRC draft, she said, "They have their homes...They are inhabitants of Assam. We will think about it if they want to come. But why should they be evicted?"
"They are Indians, but they have become refugees in their own land," she said.
Banerjee claimed that names of some people who have passports, Aadhaar and voter cards have been excluded from the complete draft.
Accusing the Centre of trying to forcibly evict 40 lakh people, she said, "It is a matter of grave concern".
"The internet service has been snapped and we cannot contact people in Assam," she claimed.
On Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement that there was no need to panic, she said, "Why then has the Centre sent 15 companies of para-military forces there?"
"Has the Centre ever thought about what will happen to those people if they are pushed back? Assam has borders with Bangladesh and West Bengal. We will face problems. We must not forget that these people are not Rohingyas but very much Indian," she said. Stating that the Centre should have held meeting with her government on the NRC, the West Bengal chief minister said, "It is a very serious issue," she said.
"The Central government neither talked to us nor the Bangladeshi government. They did not bother to talk to me, nor my chief secretary, nor the DGP, neither the administration," she said.
The TMC had opposed the NRC and its implications long back, Banerjee said, adding that the Centre and the Assam government never opposed it.
On whether she would speak to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on this issue, Banerjee said, "I cannot say anything about this. This is a matter for the external affairs ministry or for the Indian government."
Govt did tardy job in Assam NRC, should move swiftly to resolve crisis, says Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi today said the BJP government's execution of the highly-sensitive National Register of Citizens has been tardy, leading to massive insecurity in Assam.
The government should move swiftly to resolve the crisis in Assam after reports that the names of many Indian citizens are missing in the National Register of Citizens Draft, Gandhi said.
The Congress chief also asked Congress members to help maintain peace and help those, irrespective of their caste, religion or group, against whom "injustice" was done in the draft NRC.
In a Facebook post, Gandhi said the NRC was initiated by the UPA under Manmohan Singh to fulfil the commitment made in the Assam Accord of 1985.
"However, the manner in which this exercise has been undertaken by the BJP Governments at the centre and in the State of Assam leaves much to be desired," he said.
"There are reports pouring in from all corners of Assam of Indian citizens finding their names missing in the draft NRC, creating massive insecurity in the state. Clearly, after spending close to Rs 1,200 crore, the execution of this critical and highly sensitive exercise has been tardy. The Government must move swiftly to resolve this crisis," he added.
Over 40 lakh people in Assam have been left out from the the NRC, which is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in the state.
Govt should convene all-party meeting on Assam NRC issue, urges Congress
The Congress on Monday asked the government to immediately convene an all-party meeting on the NRC issue and inform the opposition on the steps it proposes to take to ensure that no Indian citizen is left out.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the BJP government's execution of the highly-sensitive National Register of Citizens (NRC) has been tardy, leading to massive insecurity in Assam.
The government should move swiftly to resolve the crisis in Assam after reports that the names of many Indian citizens are missing in the draft NRC, Gandhi said.
Senior party spokesperson Anand Sharma said there should be no politics over the issue and the matter be treated as humanitarian.
"The government must immediately call a meeting of leaders of all parties and should inform about the steps it proposes to take," he said, adding that it would be proper if the meeting is called on Tuesday.
He said till all matters related to the NRC are disposed, people and families should not be separated or taken to any camp and the matters be kept in abeyance.
The NRC issue is of international importance as it affects relation with neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh. It also has inter and intra state repercussions as well, Sharma said.
The Congress leader said indigenous people and tea plantation labourers have been affected in large numbers.
The government has given the list of 16 documents for identity purposes and any of the 16 would establish the citizenship of the applicant or
otherwise, but an overwhelming majority of people are excluded even after giving documents, Sharma said.
"The question arises about the methodology, the efficiency as well as the credibility of the entire process of the exercise," he said.
Sharma also asked whether the government of India has taken up this matter or presented the matter correctly as the Government of the Union should do before the Supreme Court.
Congress questions non-inclusion of over 40 lakh people in the complete draft of the NRC
The Congress on Monday questioned the non-inclusion of over 40 lakh people in the complete draft of the NRC, saying revision of voters list in the '90s had shown only 3.5 lakh 'Doubtful' or 'D voters', and alleged it was a "motivated" action under the BJP which was trying to play "politics of polarisation".
AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal said the party will provide assistance to all people whose names did not feature in the draft to ensure that no genuine Indian citizen is left out.
Former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, who had spearheaded the six-year-long Assam agitation against foreigners and was a signatory to the historic Assam Accord, told PTI that the central government "must deport people who have come after March 24, 1971 to their original country".
Assam Pradesh Congress President Ripun Bora expressed the hope that the Centre would implement in letter and spirit Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement that no genuine citizen would be left out.
"Intensive revision of voters list in 1995 and 1997 had shown only 3.5 lakh 'Doubtful' or D voters. It is not clear how another 36.5 lakh people were dropped (in the complete draft of NRC)," Bora said after release of complete draft of the NRC.
The non-inclusion of over 40 lakh applicants is "motivated and we will help those whose names are not there in the list seek legal redress", he said.
Welcoming publication of the draft, Mahanta said names of genuine Indian citizens should be there.
This was not the final NRC and "we should wait for the final publication of the NRC", he said.
AIUDF's Ajmal also welcomed release of the draft NRC but said non-inclusion of over 40 lakh people "is not a small matter though we must take into account that this is not the final NRC and we must wait for it".
"We are yet to analyse the names of people left out and the areas where it has happened. If we find out that some particular areas have been targeted, we will make a decision on it," he told PTI.
"We have always wanted Assam to be free from foreigners," he said.
All Assam Students' Union (AASU) General Secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said the draft publication is "a historic moment after the signing of the Assam Accord". "The publication is one step forward towards ensuring a foreigners-free Assam and we are satisfied with the outcome so far," he said.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) Advisor Akhil Gogoi also welcomed the publication of the draft and assured legal help to genuine Indian citizens. "The names of genuine Indian citizens should be included and if the names of foreigners have been included, then they should be deleted," he added.
If voted to power, BJP will publish NRC in West Bengal: Dilip Ghosh
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Monday said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be published, on the lines of the one in Assam, if the saffron party was voted to power in the state.
Supporting the publication of the complete draft of the NRC in Assam, he said some politicians were "shedding crocodile tears" as they were wary that their "vote-bank" politics would come to an end.
"If we (BJP) are voted to power in Bengal, then we too will implement the NRC in the state. We will send back the illegal immigrants to Bangladesh. Tough days are ahead, we will not tolerate any illegal immigrants in Bengal," Ghosh told reporters.
Those who will support the illegal immigrants will also be thrown out of the country, he said.
"The NRC in Assam is being implemented following the orders of the court (Supreme Court). It was the Congress, which had proposed the idea of the NRC. Now they are speaking against it," Ghosh added.
Those whose names were not in the final draft could appeal for rectification, "but we will never compromise on the security and integrity of our country", he said.
Ghosh came down heavily on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her comments against the NRC in Assam and said she should stop doing vote-bank politics on each and every issue.
"Those who are inviting illegal immigrants and Rohingyas from the neighbouring country should not talk much about the integrity and security of the country," he said.
Expressing concern over the exclusion of 40 lakh names in the complete NRC draft, Banerjee said Indian citizens had become refugees in their own land and alleged that the Centre had resorted to "vote-bank politics".
Reacting to Ghosh's remarks, Congress and CPI(M) leaders alleged that the BJP leader's statement reflected the anti-Bengali mindset of the saffron party, which was trying to import the Hindi heartland culture in Bengal.
NRC process may render significant number of people stateless: Amnesty International
The National Register of Citizens draft in Assam may render a significant number of people stateless and arbitrarily deprive people of their
nationality, human rights watchdog Amnesty International India said on Monday.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC), a list of Assam citizens, published on Monday with the names of about 40 lakh people not being included in it.
At a press conference here, Registrar General of India Sailesh announced that 2,89,83,677 people were found to be eligible for inclusion in the complete draft of the ambitious NRC out of a total 3,29,91,384 applicants.
The body said that with this process, millions are staring at "uncertain future".
"Amnesty International India is concerned that the NRC process in Assam may render a significant number of people stateless. It is possible that the process will arbitrarily deprive people, who have lived in India for decades, of their nationality.
"We urge the government to extend the time period for appeals and to ensure that all appeals are processed in transparent and non-discriminatory manner. Care should be taken to ensure that families are not torn apart, and appropriate legal aid should be provided to those who are at risk of losing their nationality," Programmes Manager at Amnesty International India Arijit Sen said.
The first draft of the NRC was published during the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 this year, containing 1.9 crore names.
Sen said the fate of those who may lose their nationality as a consequence of this process is unclear.
"India does not even have an agreement on deportation with other countries, particularly Bangladesh.
"It is crucial that the government make their plan public for dealing with those at risk of being rendered stateless and ensure that their rights are not violated," Sen said.
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