Uproar in Parliament over Assam NRC update

No debate in RS; Rajnath assures LS time will be given to file claims

Published - July 30, 2018 10:27 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Patient wait:  Women standing in queue to verify their names on NRC draft in Morigaon district  on Monday.

Patient wait: Women standing in queue to verify their names on NRC draft in Morigaon district on Monday.

Uproar over publication of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam led to the early adjournment of the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

In the Lok Sabha, amid calls by MPs for a debate, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the sensitive issue should not be politicised.

“The NRC exercise is being carried out under the aegis of the Supreme Court of India (SC); it is a sensitive issue and I would request all of you not to politicise it. Everyone will have full opportunity to file claims/objections as per provision in the law. Only after the disposal of claims and objections, will the final NRC be published,” Mr. Singh said.

‘No coercive action’

“I want to clarify that even after the final NRC, every person will get an opportunity to approach the Foreigners Tribunal. This means that even those whose names do not figure in the final NRC will get an opportunity to approach the Tribunal. There is no question of coercive action against anyone,” the Minister said.

The matter was raised during Zero Hour by Sudip Bandyopadhyay of the Trinamool Congress, who termed the exercise “most inhuman” as nearly 40 lakh people had been found to be illegal immigrants in the State. “The government needs to take this seriously, justice should not be denied to anyone, and a fresh revision should take place under the government of India,” he said.

Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said his party wanted a larger discussion on the issue, but as it had been raised, he too wanted to associate with it. “It’s a question of 40 lakh people. There are many original citizens who have also been asked to furnish papers, many people whose names have been erroneously deleted. You are creating new divisions,” he said.

RS stalled

In the Rajya Sabha, the proceedings were disrupted four times due to protests by Opposition leaders in support of the demand for a debate. The House is unlikely to function on Tuesday also, as the Opposition has demanded a statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Soon after the Zero Hour commenced, Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool stood up to draw Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu’s attention, stating that he had given a notice on the NRC. Neeraj Shekhar of the Samajwadi Party and Congress leader Bhubaneswar Kalita wanted to take up their issues, while Deputy Leader of the Opposition Anand Sharma also sought time.

‘Ready for discussion’

Stating that he had not received any notice, the Chairman said some members had met him at his office as they wanted to discuss the NRC.

“I myself have requested the Home Minister [Rajnath Singh] to come …I am ready for discussion. I want the Home Minister to respond,” he said. At the time, Mr. Singh was in the House.

Trinamool members then gathered in the Well and some Opposition leaders also moved to the aisle. When the protests did not stop, the Chairman adjourned the House till noon.

When the proceedings resumed, the Opposition leaders repeated their demand. The House was again adjourned till 2 p.m. Post-lunch, even before the Opposition leaders could make a point, Mr. Naidu adjourned the House for 10 minutes and then for the day.

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