40 L not in NRC; Assam in turmoil

GUWAHATI/NEW DELHI, JUL 30 (AGENCIES): | Publish Date: 7/31/2018 12:00:00 AM IST

A massive Supreme Court-monitored exercise to identify genuine Indian nationals living in Assam Monday excluded over 40 lakh people from the final draft list, triggering a political slugfest with the opposition alleging that it was the BJP’s “gameplan” to divide the people for electoral gains.

The draft NRC was released in Guwahati on Monday by Registrar General of India Shailesh, and NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela.

Shailesh said out of the 3,29,91,384 applicants, the names of 2,89,83,677 people had figured in the draft. The deficit was of 40,07,707.

The NRC authority has not revealed the reason for rejection, citing protection of the individual’s privacy. It just mentioned two categories of people who could not make it to the complete draft as ‘on hold’ and ‘rejected’.

The part draft, published on December 31 last year, had the names of 1.9 crore people. Later, the cases of 1.5 lakh people, whose names had figured in it, were kept in abeyance. The citizenship fate of 1.39 crore applicants was to be decided in the complete draft. However, Sailesh and NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela refused to give figures of the complete draft. 

“People, whose names have not figured in NRC, need not worry. Neither they will be branded foreigners nor will punitive action be taken against them. They will get an opportunity to file claims and objections. The names of no genuine Indians will be left out,” Sailesh said.

He added: “We will maintain status quo as regards the fate of those whose names have not figured in NRC till the final draft is published”.

Meanwhile, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC have remained in force in several districts of Assam.

Centre had also dispatched 220 additional companies of central paramilitary forces to the state. So far, there has not been any report of untoward incidents anywhere in the state.

Meanwhile, 52 Bangladeshi illegal immigrants were deported on Sunday through South Salmara-Mancachar district.

“All of them were declared foreigners. They had entered illegally and were arrested from different parts of the state,” SP South Salmara-Mancachar, Amrit Bhuyan told TNIE.

They were sent back after the Guwahati-based office of the Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh issued them travel permits.

Demand for all-party meet 

Opposition parties led by Congress on Monday asked the government to immediately convene an all-party meeting on the NRC issue and inform the opposition on the proposed steps to ensure that no Indian citizen is left out.

Senior party spokesperson Anand Sharma said there should be no politics over the issue.

“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 tomorrow.

The NRC issue is of international importance as it affects relation with neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh. It also has inter and intra state repercussions, Sharma said.

“Questions have been asked over the methodology being followed in finalising the NRC.  It raises question marks on the credibility of the process,” he said.

He also urged the government to remove shortcomings in the entire process and that all issues be settled as per the 1985 Assam Accord signed in the presence former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Meanwhile, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee reacted sharply on the exclusion of over 40 lakh names in Assam’s draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), saying people with Aaadhar cards and passports are not in the list.

“People are being isolated through a game plan. We are worried because people are being made refugees in their own country. It’s a plan to throw out Bengali speaking people and Biharis. Consequences will be felt in our state also,” Mamata further added.

Trinamool Congress’ Sudip Bandyopadhyay, whose party moved an adjournment motion on the issue, asked where will these 40 lakh people, whose names have not figured in the final draft, go.

“It is inhuman. It is a mental torture. I would request the Central Government and Home Minister to take this issue up very seriously. Justice should not be denied to these people at any cost. Fresh revision should be the top priority. If necessary, amendment must be moved so that these people may get shelter,” said Roy.

“Why this step has been taken only in Assam? Why not in other states? Government must assure that these 40 lakh people will not be denied justice,” he added.


Not final NRC, opposition must not politicise it: Rajnath

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was published on Monday was not the final list and there was no need to create panic, while urging the opposition not to politicise it.

He also assured that people whose names are not included in the final draft will get the opportunity to prove their citizenship.

“Whatever work is going on in the NRC, is happening under the supervision of the Supreme Court. To say that the government has done it, and it is inhuman and brutal...such allegations are baseless.

“It is not the right thing to say,” Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha during Zero Hour.

The Home Minister also said that there is “no question of any coercive action against anyone”, while stressing the NRC process is “being carried out with complete fairness and transparency”.

Appealing to the House, the Minister said: “This is a very sensitive issue. Everyone should lend their support. I want to make it can express your anger...but let me tell you that the government is not doing anything...everything is being done under the supervision of Supreme Court.”


Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day

Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day following an uproar by the opposition, especially the Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party over the publication of Assam’s draft National Register of Citizens.

The Upper House witnessed three adjournments earlier in the day due to the continued uproar over the issue before the Chair called it a day at 2:13 p.m.

When the House reconvened at 2 p.m. after the last adjournment, Derek O’Brien of TMC 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.

“Home Minister came all the way to the House, neither the members were willing to say anything, nor did they allow the House to function,” Naidu said, adjourning the Rajya Sabha for ten minutes.

When the House reconvened at 2:11 p.m., O’Brien again demanded a discussion on the issue under Rule 267.

“It is not a political issue sir. It is a question of human rights, it is a humanitarian issue, it is a national issue, ... we need to look after Indian citizens. Please allow me to raise this issue sir,” he said. Samajwadi Party members and some from the Congress too started raising the issue leading to a din.

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