BJP president Amit Shah Tuesday accused the Congress party of lacking the courage to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) after the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi signed the Assam Accord in 1985. He sought to know whether the Congress wanted to protect the “illegal Bangldeshis” living in Assam.
“NRC is being conducted on the SC order. There are 40 lakh people (missing in the list) … Whom do you want to save? You want to save illegal Bangaldesis,” the BJP chief asked while speaking in Rajya Sabha.
His remarks sparked protests from the Opposition benches, with several Congress members trooping to the Well and raising slogans. Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s best efforts to pacify the members proved futile. “Only God can save this democracy,” says M. Venkaiah Naidu. We are House of Elders. We must behave responsibly and in a dignified manner,” Naidu said while urging members to get back to their seats.
The House was adjourned for 10 minutes before resuming business. However, the protests continued and Naidu adjourned the House till tomorrow.
Amit Shah, in his speech, noted that the NRC was the spirit of the 1985 Assam Accord which sought to identify illegal migrants into Assam and prepare a list of Indian citizens.
Shah said former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had signed the Assam Accord on August 14, 1985 after the movement in the state went out of control leading to death of some protesters. “This was the Congress PM’s initiative. He (Rajiv Gandhi) did not have the courage. We have courage and we are doing it,” he informed the House.
The debate on the Assam’s draft NRC began with Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad saying the onus lies on the government too when it came to proving one’s nationality. Legal assistance must be extended to those not included on the list and no person must be harassed, he said.
On Monday, the NRC released the second and final draft which had 2.89 crore names in total. Out of the 3.29 crore applications it had received, around 40 lakh were rejected. As panic and chaos reigned in the north-eastern state, officials quickly clarified that forms for claims, objections and requests for correction would be available from August 7 at Seva Kendra and could be submitted from August 30 to September 28.