New Delhi, August 3: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Friday said no coercive action will be taken against people whose name is not there in the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC), in any situation. Condemning the “attempts to create fear among people”, the home minister said, “I am saying this again, that no coercive action will be taken against anyone in any situation. Attempts to create an atmosphere of fear are condemnable.”
Explaining when the NRC process was started and subsequent Congress governments were also supportive of the exercise, Singh said, “Procedure of NRC started in 1985 through the Assam accord when the late Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. The decision to update was taken by former PM Manmohan Singh in 2005.”
“The whole procedure of NRC Assam was undertaken under the supervision of Supreme Court. I would like to repeat that its a draft and not final, everyone will get a chance to appeal. It’s a totally fair process. Unwarranted accusations are unfortunate,” ANI quoted Singh as saying.
Rajnath Singh’s statement came amid vociferous protests in Parliament over the overnight detention of a Trinamool Congress delegation of eight legislators — who were on a two-day visit to Assam to participate in an NRC convention — at Silchar airport.
The issue was also raised in Lok Sabha, to which Singh said, “On August 2, TMC delegation was received at Silchar airport with full protocol. They were asked to go back but delegation engaged in an argument during which two women security personnel were injured, few passengers were also inconvenienced.”
“Police arrested the delegation members under 151 CrPc and were made to halt the night at a guest house near Silchar airport. On Aug 3, the delegation members flew back to Delhi from Silchar. The situation was handled in a way that law&order can be maintained,” Singh added.
The final draft of the NRC, which was released on Monday, lists 2.89 crore people out of 3.29 crore people, leaving out 40 lakh applicants. First published in 1951, Assam is the only state to have such a document. Officials have said those who are not included in the draft NRC can re-apply for citizenship.
Reacting to Singh’s statement, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said the government is indulging in double-speak. “While the Home Minister has a version, BJP president Amit Shah has another,” he said, adding, “It’s a national issue and humanitarian issue, not just Assam’s. This is classic double-speak.”
Quoting the Home Minister, O’Brien said, “Yes communal disharmony is being spread, but who is spreading it? I seek protection.”
Brian also said, “If there are 16 documents needed to prove citizenship, higher authorities also need to produce a document of a higher education.”
Speaking on the issue, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “India’s territorial integrity cannot be compromised, receiving an applause from the assembly. We can’t leave our border open for everyone. There can be trouble in the process, Singh cannot say it’s a fair and objective process.” (Agencies)