Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured there will be no discrimination or needless harassment in finalizing the new citizen's list that excludes 40 lakh people from Assam. "The process is fair and transparent. We are doing everything according to the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court. Every step is being followed," Singh said in a statement in the Rajya Sabha. "I assure everyone that no Indian citizen will be left out. There is absolutely no need to worry." He also assured that there would be no coercive action against those who had been left out of the National Register of Citizens for Assam.
A delegation of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders flew to Silchar but was detained at the airport to maintain law and order in Assam, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday told the Lok Sabha, adding that the delegation members created an “unruly situation at the airport”.
Citing a document received from the Assam government, the Minister said the state government took the step based on “media and intelligence inputs”.
“On the basis of intelligence inputs, considering the law and order situation and to avoid any deteriorating condition, the Assam government detained the honourable (delegation) members who reached Silchar airport,” Rajanth Singh said.
“As per my information, the district officials there requested the TMC members with folded hands that Section 144 of CrPC was in force in the entire district and it would not be good for them to go outside. Then, they were detained at the airport.”
The Assam government reported minor scuffle between the district administration employees and some of the representatives of the delegation at the airport, he said. “A few of them also received injuries in the melee.”
The Minister explained that the TMC delegation reached the Silchar airport around 1.55 p.m on on Thursday and the Deputy Commissioner received them.
“(He) requested them to go back. The delegation members did not listen to the instructions and started an argument. They also started manhandling the district administration people in which two women security personnel (were) injured.
“The delegation members created unruly situation at the airport which led to discomfort to other passengers, who complained about it to the district administration,” Rajnath Singh said.
As the last flight for Delhi and Kolkata had taken off, the Assam Police had no option but to arrest the delegation members, he said.
He said their night halt was proposed at the NIT guest house in Silchar. But on their written request, they were halted at the Silchar airport guest house. On Friday, six members of the delegations flew back to Kolkata and Delhi.
The Minister’s remarks came after TMC MPs disrupted the Lok Sabha over the issue and gave a privilege notice.
TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee said during Zero Hour that a team consisting of six MPs and also two ministers from West Bengal went to Silchar for the purpose of having only a discussion and an assessment of the issue in question. They had categorically said there would not be any public meeting.
“When they reached Silchar airport, they were detained. They were manhandled by Assam Police,” he said and added: “Is it not an undeclared Emergency in the country itself? Even during Emergency, people could have moved from one place to another.”
“I know elections are coming and everyone is getting ready for that. Are you afraid of that? Are you getting nervous after seeing the united force of the Opposition that you are detaining the MPs there? We condemn this act,” Banerjee said.
BJP MP from Assam Bijoya Chakravarty said there is Bengali population in 37 districts of Assam. “In my constituency, Guwahati alone, there are 3,45,000 Bengalis. There is no trouble. There is peace everywhere. There is no tension anywhere. TMC MPs created problems and also manhandled people. Why did they go there to create tension?
“West Bengal Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee) said there will be civil war and bloodbath in Assam. This is against law … they should be booked,” she said.
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury slamming Mamata Banerjee said there is no civil war or bloodbath anywhere, neither in Assam nor Bengal. “Everyne should realise their responsibility. This is being raised to create a situation of sub-regionalism. This is dangerous.”
Rajnath Singh also assured that there will be no discrimination or unnecessary harassment in the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and said the entire process has been fair and transparent.
Reiterating that the matter pertained to national security, he condemned alleged attempts by a “few” (persons) to create an atmosphere of fear based on rumours and propaganda on the social media and internationalise the issue.
Responding to a Short Duration Discussion on the issue in the Rajya Sabha, which saw disruptions and adjournments for a couple of days, the Minister said the Central and Assam governments are committed to adding the names of all genuine Indians in the list in a time-bound manner.
“I am reiterating that it is not the final NRC. It is just a draft NRC. Adequate opportunity will be provided to everyone for making claims and raising objections. Despite this, if anybody’s name remains out of the list, he can approach the Foreigners Tribunal,” Rajnath Singh said.
He also assured that there would be no coercive action against anybody in any situation.
The Minister said that the NRC updation was being carried out in a totally fair, transparent, non-discriminatory and legal manner.
“The entire process is being carried out under Supreme Court supervision. It is monitoring on a routine basis. Nobody will be harassed. There has been no discrimination, and there will be no discrimination,” he said while dismissing allegations by some opposition parties.
He said that the draft NRC had been published on July 30 in accordance with Assam Accord of 1985 when Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister.
The decision to update it was taken in 2005 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he added.
The Minister, a senior BJP leader, also hit out at some political parties, saying they are “trying to create an atmosphere of fear” among the people.
“It is unfortunate that some persons with vested interest are running a propaganda on the social media so that the issue can be internationalised and communal harmony affected,” he said.
“It is a matter of national security… no attempts should be made to create communal disharmony… I expect cooperation from all,” Rajnath Singh added.
Later, Ripun Bora of the Congress suggested in the house that the Central government convene an all-party meeting.
He said that a wrong message had been sent that the Congress is against the NRC.
“With the Home Minister’s statement, it is now clear that it was the Congress which initiated the NRC. Rajiv Gandhi understood the danger to Assam. To protect the people of the state, the Assam accord was signed,” he said.
A day after FIRs were lodged against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at various Assam police stations for ‘inciting hatred’, Trinamool Congress lawmakers on Friday filed police complaints against her Assam counterpart for harassing and manhandling a party delegation at Silchar airport.
State assembly legislator Mohua Moitra registered a police complaint at Alipore police station, while Lok Sabha members Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Mamatabala Thakur recorded their complaint at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport police station under the Bidhannagar Police commissionerate.
The complainants alleged that the police “illegally detained”, “manhandled” and “harassed” the eight-member Trinamool delegation at the behest of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday at Kumbhirgram airport.
On Thursday, cases were lodged against Banerjee in a number of Assam police stations for her remark that the NRC could lead to ‘civil war’ and ‘bloodbath’. (IANS)