- "I assure everyone no Indian citizen will be left out": Rajnath Singh
- Those not included in the NRC list would be able to appeal, he said
- Mr Singh criticised attempts at fear-mongering, disrupting harmony
On the massive controversy over a new citizen's list that excludes 40 lakh people from Assam, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today that there will be no discrimination or needless harassment in finalizing what he asserted is only a draft list.
"The process fair and transparent. We are doing everything according to the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court. Every step is being followed," Mr Singh said in a statement in the Rajya Sabha.
"I assure everyone that no Indian citizen will be left out. There is absolutely no need to worry." He assured that there would be no coercive action against those who had been left out of the National Register of Citizens for Assam.
Those not included in the NRC final list would be able to appeal to the foreigners' tribunal, he said.
Rajnath Singh hit out at what he called attempts at fear-mongering and disrupting communal harmony. "It is unfortunate that an atmosphere of fear has been created... Propaganda has been carried out through vested interests on social media to internationalise the issue and disturb communal harmony," he said.
"Everyone will get a chance to apply for citizenship once we have a final list. They will have full rights... nothing will be taken away from them," said the minister.
"Please maintain peace, harmony and public order. To aid this, we have provided the Assam government with all the required security forces," he added.
This morning, there were loud protests in parliament over the all-night detention of a team of Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress lawmakers at the airport in Assam's Silchar, where they had gone to address public meetings in a campaign against the citizen's list.
The NRC was released on Monday. The government has clarified that the list is a draft and no one would face action if they were not on it. People would have a chance to furnish documents to prove their citizenship of Assam.
Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of Bengal, and her party Trinamool Congress, have aggressively protested against the NRC list, calling it an attempt to divide and rule, and to target people who won't vote for the ruling BJP.