Assam BJP hits out at NRC coordinator for dropping key documents from list
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Assam unit lashed out at Prateek Hajela, the state coordinator of NRC, for dropping five key documents from the list for the claims and objections exercise. This comes a day after the ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) process was praised at the BJP’s National Executive meeting in New Delhi.
The BJP state leadership said the party has urged the state government and the Centre to submit an affidavit to the Supreme Court to allow all 15 documents in the list for claims and objections. Last week, leader of opposition in Assam, Congress leader Debabrata Saikia also accused Hajela of misleading the top court.
The state unit also appeared non-committal on the pending Citizenship (amendment) Bill, and said the “issue is being examined”.
“If you exclude five documents at this stage it will make things difficult for genuine Indian citizens who are out of NRC,” said Ranjit Kumar Das, president of BJP’s state unit. Das said the complete draft of the NRC excludes “lakhs of genuine Indian citizens”.
Hajela has come under attack from most political parties and organisations after a recent submissions to the Supreme Court where he suggested that five key documents including 1951 NRC, electoral rolls up to March 24, 1971, refugee and migration certificate and ration cards cannot be submitted afresh by those left out of NRC.
“Hajela is being self contradictory,” Das said. “The dropping of five documents is not justified, it is injustice,” he emphasised.
“Who gave him (Hajela) the authority to do this? Did he talk to stakeholders?” Das asked claiming even chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal was taken by surprise by this submission. “Chief Minister has no knowledge,” Das said.
Hajela refused to comment on the issue.
The Supreme Court which is monitoring the process had asked Hajela to submit a report on the ramifications of allowing people to submit documents afresh. The court has subsequently asked all stake holders to give their views even as it refused to share Hajela’s report with the Centre. The court will hear the matter again on September 19.
Meanwhile, even as BJP President Amit Shah reiterated party’s commitment to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill at the National Executive meeting, which would pave way for providing citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan excluding Muslims, Das didn’t comment on it. “The issue is still being examined,” he reiterated.
Pulling out a paragraph from the party’s political resolution which mentioned, “…we shall also take steps to protect the interests of the minorities in our neighbourhood who come to India seeking refuge,” Das pointed out how the word ‘refuge’ is important.