Assam NRC: The government has asserted that the citizens's list is only a draft and is not final.
New Delhi: Opposition anger over the final draft of the Assam citizens' list, which leaves out 40 lakh people, consumed parliament today. Uproar started in Rajya Sabha as BJP chief Amit Shah rose to speak after a temporary adjournment. Minutes later, the house was adjourned for the day. Lok Sabha witnessed protests too, as the Congress and Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress put in notice to cancel the day's business and discuss the citizens' list. The Congress has demanded an all-party meeting, saying the matter affects not only the lives of people but also relations with neighbouring countries, especially Bangladesh.
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The Trinamool Congress members, who led yesterday's protests as well, shouted slogans from the aisles, forcing an adjournment till 1 pm. After the house reconvened, protests broke out again. Minutes later, Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day.
In an address cut short by opposition slogan shouting from the Well of the House, Amit Shah said the NDA government had been able to do what the UPA could not. The National Register of Citizens, he said, was in the spirit of the 1985 Assam Accord which sought to identify illegal migrants into Assam and prepare a list of Indian citizens.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had signed the Assam Accord, pointed out Mr Shah, adding, "This was the Congress PM's initiative. He (Rajiv Gandhi) did not have the courage. We have courage and we are doing it... "You want to save illegal Bangladeshis."
Trinamool's Sukhendu Roy said six months ago, government data listed 2.4 lakh people "as doubtful voters". Reading out from the Supreme Court order on the subject, he added, "It is absolutely untrue when they say it is all happening under SC supervision. We must involve the human rights in this".
Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu told members that Home Minister Rajnath Singh will come to the House after attending to his duties in the Lok Sabha and reply to the "sensitive and serious matter".
"The NRC issue is a serious problem and should be dealt sensitively. Injustice should not be done to the genuine Indian citizens," said senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, promising that the party will discuss the issue with the government.
No business could be transacted in Rajya Sabha yesterday as well because of the protests, which were spearheaded by Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress.
The Congress and Mamata Banerjee have accused the government of using the pretext of Bangladeshi migrants to target Assam's Muslim population. At a press conference yesterday, Ms Banerjee said it was t he government's "game plan to evict humanity and human beings forcibly and an attempt to isolate them in order to play vote politics".
The National Register of Citizens in Assam is being updated for the first time since 1951 to identify the illegal migrants from Bangladesh. But with the onus of proving citizenship on the people, many, especially in rural areas, are apprehensive that they would be declared illegal, since they do not have proper documentation.
Following huge criticism, the government has assured that those missing from the citizens' list will be given ample opportunity to prove their citizenship. No one will be declared a foreigner now and there will be no arrest or deportation, the home ministry as well as the Assam government have said.