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NRC update: Centre will protect only ‘genuine Indians’, says Rijiju

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said on Wednesday that the government was duty-bound to protect the interests of “genuine Indians” and not anyone else who was “fake or had entered India illegally”.

He said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was updated not on “religious lines” and it concerned the identity of Indians.

Mr. Rijiju’s comments come in the wake of the controversy that has erupted after the publication of the final draft of the NRC. Nearly 40 lakh of the 3.9 crore applicants did not make it to the list.

Mr. Rijiju told The Hindu that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement that the publication of the NRC would lead to “civil war and bloodbath” was unbecoming of her post.

“The primary responsibility of the government or the Chief Minister is to provide security to each citizen. To ensure security in their territory, if the Chief Minister makes such comments like civil war and bloodbath, it’s very much unbecoming of a person occupying the chair,” he said.

As per a report submitted by NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the total number of persons included in the complete draft of the NRC is 2,89,83,677, leaving a total of 40,70,707 as illegible for inclusion.

“Out of the aforesaid 40,70,707 names, 37,59,630 have been rejected and 2,48,077 names were kept on hold,” the report said said.

A senior Home Ministry official said it would be wrong to call those not included in the NRC as “infiltrators” as the final decision lay with the Foreigners Tribunals.

Mr. Rijiju said no Indian would be left out of the list when the final NRC was published.

“The government’s first priority is to protect the interests of Indians. It must work for the protection of Indians first. Those living in India illegally … the illegal infiltrators, how can the government protect their interests?” the Minister said.

On reports that vigilantes in Meghalaya were stopping vehicles along the Assam border and asking residents to produce documents to prove identity, Mr. Rijiju said, “Every State government has its own authority and it should act.”

He said if there were loopholes in conducting the NRC exercise they would be examined. “Everyone will be given enough opportunity to file claims and objections and produce documents,” he said.

*This article has been corrected for a factual error

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 5:33:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nrc-update-centre-will-protect-only-genuine-indians-says-rijiju/article24574765.ece

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