- Rahul Gandhi hit out at government over draft list of citizens in Assam
- Mr Gandhi criticised the execution of the "highly sensitive exercise"
- NRC initiated by UPA to fulfil Assam Accord commitments, says Mr Gandhi
Amid opposition protests over the final draft of citizens' list in Assam on Monday, which leaves over 40 lakh people facing deportation because their citizenship is in doubt, Rahul Gandhi hit out at the government on social media for what he called "tardy execution of this critical and highly sensitive exercise".
The National Register of Citizens is being updated for the first time since 1951 to recognise Indian citizens living in Assam and identify those who entered the state from Bangladesh.
In a Facebook post, the Congress president said: "the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was initiated by the UPA under Manmohan Singh 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 Assam leaves much to be desired."
The government has asserted that the draft is not final; all those missing from the citizen's list will receive a letter and will be given a fair chance to produce proof of their citizenship.
The home ministry as well as the BJP-led Assam government assured that there would be no arrests or deportations now until all the claims were verified.
Those who cannot prove their claim to citizenship face deportation to Bangladesh. Most are from families who fled Bangladesh during its split from Pakistan in 1971.
Opposition parties like the Congress and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress protested against the draft citizen's list, accusing the government of a "divide and rule" policy and targeting Assam's Muslim population on the pretext of identifying Bangladeshi migrants.
"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," wrote the Congress president.
He urged his party men to "help maintain peace and help those against whom injustice has been done, no matter what their religion, caste, gender, linguistic group of political affiliation."