After names of more than four million people were left out of a list of Indian citizens published in Assam on Monday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was ‘worried about torture’ and that people had become ‘refugees’ in their own country. “This is divide-and-rule policy. People are being isolated…this will destroy humanity,” she told a press conference here, declaring that she would take up the subject personally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I want to tell the PM — save the people, don’t isolate them,” Mamata said adding “such a huge step is being taken. Shouldn’t the (Indian) government have conversation with Bengal?” Ends
Mamata said “people are being isolated through a game plan. It’s a plan to throw out Bangla-speaking people and Biharis. Consequences will be felt in our state also.”
She also asked if the Indian government has a rehabilitation plan for the 40 lakh people whose names were not included in the NRC final draft.
“Where will the 40 lakh people whose names have been deleted go? Does the Centre have any rehabilitation programme for them? Ultimately, it is Bengal which will suffer. It is just vote politics by BJP. Request the Home Minister to bring an amendment,” Mamata said.
She alleged Bengalis living in Assam were being targeted and asked if the Indian government was trying to do forceful eviction. ‘There were people who have Aaadhar (multi-purpose ID) cards and passports but still their names are not in the draft list. Names of people were removed on the basis of surnames also. Is the government trying to do forceful eviction?’ she added.
Meanwhile, the issue of list of Indian citizens in Assam sparked uproar in the Rajya Sabha, the upper House of parliament, this morning with opposition parties led by Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party lawmakers agitating on the subject forcing adjournment of proceedings till noon.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu first said he had not received any notice and later said that some lawmakers had met him expressing a desire to raise the NRC issue.
“I myself have requested the Home Minister to come (to respond to members’ concern),” he said adding he was ready for a discussion.
But the opposition lawmakers did not heed to his pleas and slogan- shouting Trinamool members moved into the Well of the House, forcing Naidu to adjourn proceedings till noon.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the draft NRC in Assam is completely “impartial” and those whose names are not included shouldn’t panic as they will get an opportunity to prove their Indian citizenship.
“No coercive action will be taken against anyone. Hence, there is no need for anyone to panic,” he told reporters here. Even someone whose name is not in the final list can approach the Foreigners Tribunal, Singh added.
The Home Minister said “some people are unnecessarily trying to create an atmosphere of fear. This is a completely impartial report. No misinformation should be spread. This is a draft and not the final list.”
Earlier, the final draft of a list of Indian citizens was made public on Monday in north eastern Indian state of Assam with names of 2.9 crore people out of the total 3.29 crore figuring in it and a little over 40 lakh names not finding a place, Registrar General of India Sailesh said.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) will have the names of all Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971. Assam is the only Indian state to have NRC first made in 1951.
The first draft of the updated National Register Citizens (NRC) was published during the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 this year, containing 1.9 crore names.
“This is a historic day for India and Assam. The exercise is unparalleled in size. It is a legal process done under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court,” Sailesh said at a press conference in Guwahati. The exercise was carried out in a transparent, fair, objective manner, he claimed.
He said names of 40.07 lakh people did not find a place in the NRC. Talking about people whose names did not figure in the final draft, Sailesh said “the process for making claims and objections will begin on August 30 and continue till September 28. Adequate and ample scope will be given to people for making objections. No genuine Indian citizen should have any fear.”
The application process for the NRC started in May 2015 and a total of 6.5 crore documents were received from 68.27 lakh families across Assam, he added.
New Delhi Correspondent