NRC process is fair, some trying to create atmosphere of fear: Rajnath Singh tells Parliament
The Opposition has been vehement in its accusations that the government is using the NRC exercise to target certain communities.india Updated: Aug 03, 2018 15:40 IST
Union home minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday the National Register of Citizen in Assam was fair and objective and warned the opposition against its alleged attempts to create an atmosphere of “fear and communal disharmony on social media”.
The opposition has been vehement in its accusations that the government is using the NRC exercise to target certain communities for political gains. The matter reached a boiling point when a Trinamool Congress delegation was prevented from entering Assam by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Silchar airport on Thursday.
The NRC final draft, which seeks to prove citizenship and weed out illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and neighbouring regions, didn’t include the names of over 40 lakh of the total 3.29 residents of Assam.
The minister said every country wants to identify its genuine citizens and “it is their responsibility” as he sought the cooperation of all parties since it is a matter of national security.
“It is unfortunate that an atmosphere of fear has been created. Some confusion has been created through some people. Propaganda has been carried out through vested interest on social media to internationalise the issue and disturb the communal harmony,” he said.
Singh added certain people are trying to create communal disharmony and this should not be done.
“There has not been any discrimination. I want to assure that there will not be any discrimination in the future as well. It is not fair if someone makes such allegations,” Singh said in the Rajya Sabha.
The minister stressed the draft NRC was not the “final one” and that all those who have been left out will get an opportunity to provide the required documentary proof. “There will not be any coercive action (against those not in the list),” he said.
The home minister also sought to remind protesting members of the opposition that the entire procedure was undertaken under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
“Everyone will get a chance to appeal. It’s a totally fair process, and unwarranted accusations are unfortunate,” he said.
He also pointed out that subsequent Congress governments were also supportive of the NRC exercise. “The procedure of NRC started in 1985 through the Assam accord, when late Rajiv Gandhiji was the prime minister. The decision to update it was taken by Dr Manmohan Singhji in 2005,” he said.
Several members of the House welcomed the statement as some sought clarifications and some others giving suggestions on the NRC.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu sought to know if the former prime minister and member of the House Manmohan Singh would like comment as the home minister had taken his name. The former prime minister, however, did not speak.
Naidu also asked the home minister to provide written replies to the clarifications raised by the members as the Zero Hour ended and the House took up the Question Hour.
Congress’ Ripun Bora (Cong) demanded that the guidelines related to the NRC should be modified further as a large number of women and children were facing difficulties in proving their lineage.
He said the West Bengal government had verified only a small fraction of the total 1.2 lakh applications in relation to the NRC.
RJD member Manoj Jha said those who were not in the draft list should not be termed as “infiltrators”.
Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress, which is rallying opposition parties against the NRC, said the matter was not just limited to Assam but was a national issue. He also took a pot-shot at the BJP saying its president was speaking a different language on the issue than the home minister.
The Leader of Opposition and senior Congress member Ghulam Nabi Azad said there could be no compromise with security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
He suggested that the government, as well as the ruling party, should speak in one language while highlighting that even the names of people who have served for over 30 years in the army and the air force were missing from the draft.
Earlier, the chairman informed the House that a privilege notice has been received from an MP from West Bengal and it was being examined. The notice related to the arrest of Trinamool MPs in Assam.
First Published: Aug 03, 2018 11:51 IST