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  India   All India  21 Nov 2019  NRC to be carried out across India: Amit Shah

NRC to be carried out across India: Amit Shah

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Nov 21, 2019, 1:17 am IST
Updated : Nov 21, 2019, 1:20 am IST

The Congress favoured NRC in Assam but said that the ruling BJP has given the entire exercise a “communal tinge”.

Union home minister Amit Shah (Photo: PTI)
 Union home minister Amit Shah (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi/ Guwahati/Kolkata: Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday announced in Parliament that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process will be carried out across the country and added that there would be no discrimination on the basis of religion.

“The process of National Register of Citizens will be carried out across the country. No one irrespective of their religion should be worried. It is just a process to get everyone under the NRC,” he said while replying to a supplementary during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.

 

The home minister said that in Assam, people whose names have not figured in the draft list have the right to go to the Foreigners Tribunals. “Tribunals will be constituted across Assam. If any person doesn’t have the money to approach tribunals, then the Assam government will bear the cost to hire a lawyer,” he said.

But within hours of Mr Shah’s announcement, Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma called a press conference in Guwahati to say that the state government has requested the Centre to reject the recently published NRC in the state.

“The Assam government has not accepted the NRC. The government of Assam and the BJP have requested the home minister to reject the NRC,” he said, and pitched for a fresh pan-India NRC with a single cut-off date.

 

In Assam, the NRC aims to identify illegal immigrants who entered the state and settled after March 25, 1971.

Though the implementation of the NRC in Assam has raised questions of discrimination on the basis of religion, the BJP in Assam is not happy with the outcome as many of the 19 lakh people left out of the NRC are from the majority community.

Mr Shah’s countrywide pitch for NRC drew sharp reaction from West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. “A total of 19 lakh people have been left out of the Assam NRC list. Those omitted include Hindus, Bengalis, Muslims, Gorkhas and Buddhists. They have been sent to detention centres. In West Bengal, we (TMC) will never allow any detention centre,” she said, assuring people that she will never allow such a citizens’ register in the state.

 

Ms Banerjee added the NRC in Assam was part of the Assam Accord signed during the tenure of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and that the exercise can never be implemented across the country.

“There are a few people who are trying to create disturbances in West Bengal in the name of implementation of the NRC. I want to make it very clear, we will never allow NRC in Bengal. No one can take away your citizenship and turn you into a refugee. There can be no division on the basis of religion,” Ms Banerjee said while addressing a public meeting at Sagardighi in Murshidabad district.

Before talking about implementing the NRC in West Bengal, the BJP should answer why 14 lakhs Hindus and Bengalis were omitted from the final NRC list in Assam, she said.

 

Mr Shah told the Rajya Sabha that though the Centre accepts that refugees — Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis — who left Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan due to religious atrocities should get Indian citizenship, he added that all citizens of India irrespective of religion will figure in the NRC list. “There is no provision in the NRC that people belonging to other religions will not be included in the register,” he added.

The NRC exercise in Assam followed a Supreme Court order in December 2014 for time-bound implementation, and remains under the court’s direct monitoring.

The RSS has been pushing for the nationwide implementation of the exercise. The RSS’ and the BJP’s top leaders, in fact, held a meeting ahead of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit verdict by the apex court and the RSS top brass, it was learnt, told the BJP leadership that the NRC should be implemented nationwide to check illegal immigrants. The NRC issue is often highlighted by the BJP leaders during election campaigning.

 

Assam’s senior BJP leader Sarma, who is also the convenor of the North-East Democratic Alliance, said on Wednesday that there were many flaws in the updated NRC, which was published on August 31 this year, as the mammoth exercise was carried out “unilaterally” by the then NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela.

He said since there was no scope to amend it, the state government as well as the ruling BJP have urged the Centre to “dismiss” the NRC in its current form.

“The Assam government has not accepted the NRC. There were ineligible people who were included, while scores of genuine Indian citizens were excluded. The government of Assam and BJP have requested the home minister to reject this NRC... There is no scope to amend this,” Mr Sarma added.

 

The Congress favoured NRC in Assam but said that the ruling BJP has given the entire exercise a “communal tinge”.

Tags: amit shah, national register of citizens