Uproar in Parliament over Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

On fire:The violence in Assam found an echo in Parliament on Thursday.

On fire:The violence in Assam found an echo in Parliament on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI


Kashmir model replicated in northeast: Adhir; Cong. instigating violence: Joshi

The government and the Opposition clashed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi accused the Congress of stoking protests and instigating violence in the northeastern region following the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

During Zero Hour, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the entire region was in flames, barring a few places. He said the violence stemmed from the passage of the Bill and the apprehensions of the people about the consequences. “The Kashmir phenomenon is being replicated in the northeastern region; it has become a Kashmir, and it is seeing a similar Internet shutdown. The situation in Kashmir has not normalised because of these people [the ruling party members]...,”

Mr. Pralhad Joshi said it was, in fact, the Congress that was instigating violence in the region, and the government condemned it. His remark prompted an uproar among the Congress members, who walked out.

In the Rajya Sabha, as Home Minister Amit Shah reiterated the government’s resolve to prepare a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), Congress MP Rajeev Gowda asked the government on Thursday to spell out what it would do with those excluded from the list in view of the deplorable condition in Assam’s detention camps, where the death toll was rising.

Plight of NRC-excluded

Mr. Gowda said “now-illegal immigrants” would be housed in these camps after the NRC was published in the State. Nearly 19 lakh individuals had been excluded from the list, and the government had not sent them any letter, spelling out the reasons for their exclusion. The excluded were supposed to file corrective petitions at the foreigners’ tribunal with supporting documents to prove their Indian citizenship.

He spoke about a 2.5-hectare camp, one of the proposed 10, that is operational in Goalpura district. “While officials claim that the camps will be better than prisons, media reports and the past history paint a different picture. As per the latest reports, the death toll in detention centres has reached 28. The reasons range from consumption of unfit food and insanitary conditions to suicide.”

In January 2019, the government circulated a ‘model detention centre manual’ to all the States and Union Territories, which had not been made public. “In response to questions raised in Parliament, the Home Ministry said there would be “sufficient toilets, communication and medical facilities”. This reply led to more questions such as what did “sufficient” mean? what are the communication facilities and how can they be used? Given the segregation by gender, how often can members of the same family interact? Will they be permitted to work? How long will they be detained? “This is a humanitarian issue. At the very least, the government should be transparent about the process and the future of detainees,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 5:30:46 AM |

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