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  India   All India  31 Jul 2018  Assam NRC: Oppn sees red, slams govt for tardy exercise

Assam NRC: Oppn sees red, slams govt for tardy exercise

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jul 31, 2018, 5:33 am IST
Updated : Jul 31, 2018, 5:33 am IST

The citizens’ register is being compiled under the orders of the Supreme Court in order to identify illegal foreigners residing in Assam.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (Photo: PTI)
 West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi/Kolkata: The political battle over Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) intensified on Monday with some Opposition parties questioning the validity of the entire exercise, and others calling the Supreme Court-monitored exercise “tardy”. While the Congress demanded an all-party meeting over the issue, the Trinamul Congress said it was “vote politics” ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking in Kolkata, West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee tore into the Modi government over the 40 lakh applicants whose names have been left out of the final draft, and who now face the nightmarish ordeal of having to prove their citizenship in a state where about 32 per cent of the population loves below the poverty line and about 26 per cent are illiterate.

 

Questioning the validity of the entire exercise, a furious and emotional Ms Banerjee said, “Many people have been identified as foreigners and they are to be sent back. There are many children and women among them... So many Bengalis, Biharis, Hindus, Muslims... they are very much Indians… It is a game plan to evict humanity and human beings forcibly and an attempt to isolate them in order to do vote politics. We do not believe in divide and rule policy.”

Describing the people of Assam as “brothers and sisters”, Ms Banerjee said that she was “worried about torture” of those left out. She added that she will send a delegation of her party to Assam to take stock of the ground realities and people who have been turned into “refugees in their own country”, and, if required, she would go there too.

 

Asked if the NRC-excluded people will be allowed to stay in West Bengal, Ms Banerjee said, “We will give it a thought if they can come here... But the main question is why will they be evicted?”

Ms Banerjee, who arrived in Delhi later on Monday, will meet the home minister over the NRC controversy. She is also likely to meet Opposition leaders.

Criticising NRC in a Facebook post, Congress president Rahul Gandhi wrote, “The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was initiated by the UPA under Manmohan Singh Ji 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”.

 

“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 1,200 cr, the execution of this critical and highly sensitive exercise has been tardy. The government must move swiftly to resolve this crisis. I appeal to all members of the Congress party to help maintain peace and help all those against whom an injustice has been done in the draft NRC, no matter what their religion, caste, gender, linguistic group or political affiliation”.

While home minister Rajnath Singh maintained on Monday that the final draft list of Indian citizens completely “impartial”, Union minister Jitendra Singh hit back at the Opposition for attacking the Centre over the list. He said that the assault on the government reflects deep concern in the Congress and its allies because of the support people of Northeast have shown to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 

At a press briefing later, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded that the government call an all-party meeting on the issue.

“Indigenous people, tea plantation workers have been affected in large numbers. Government had given a list of 16 documents for identity purposes. It has been brought to our notice that many people had more than one document but were still left out of NRC in Assam,” he added.

The citizens’ register is being compiled under the orders of the Supreme Court in order to identify illegal foreigners residing in Assam.

Tags: assam nrc, mamata banerjee, modi government