After supporting CAB, Naveen Patnaik opposes NRC

The Asian Age.  | Akshaya Kumar Sahoo

India, All India

“I would appeal to our citizens to let peace prevail and not to indulge in rumour mongering,” Mr Patnaik added.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik (Photo: PTI/File)

Bhubaneswar: Odisha chief minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday said his party would not support the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

“BJD MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have made it clear that we do not support NRC,” said Mr Patnaik while speaking to reporters at Naveen Nivas.

Commenting on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Odisha chief minister said, “It has nothing to do with Indian citizens, it only deals with foreigners.”

“I would appeal to our citizens to let peace prevail and not to indulge in rumour mongering,” Mr Patnaik added.

The CM’s announcement comes as a sharp contrast to his party’s wholehearted support on the floor of the Parliament to the Right to Information (Amen-dment) Bill, 2019, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 (famously known as Triple Talaq Bill) and revocation of Article 370 that guaranteed special status to Jammu and Kashmir .

Earlier on December 13, a Muslim delegation from Bhadrak, Balasore and Jajpur districts led by Abdul Bari, president Muslim Jamat, Bhadrak, had met the chief minister at the state secretariat. The CM had assured them that the state government would not implement the NRC.

After meeting Mr Pattnaik, Mr Bari had said, “The CM assured us that there is no need for the Muslim community in the state to panic over either National Register of Citizens (NRC) or the amended Citizenship Act.  And the big claim he made was BJD will not support NRC.”

Mr Patnaik had in 2015 given a detailed account in the Assembly of the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Odisha.

As per the data, a total of 3,987 Bangladeshis were illegally staying in the state. While the largest contingent of 1,649 Bangladeshi infiltrators were staying in Kendrapara,  1,112 are staying in Jagatsinghpur.

The data showed 655 infiltrators living in Malkangiri, 313 in Bhadrak, 150 in Balasore, 106 in Nabarangpur and two in Bargarh. In 2005, the Odisha government had served ‘Quit’ notices to 1,551 illegal immigrants. But no follow up action was taken thereof.

Political observers interpret the stoic silence, in fact, as a political statement of the ruling party.

“It seems the Naveen Patnaik government wants to run with the hare and hunt with the hound,” said political commentator Prasanna Mohanty.