NEW DELHI/KOLKATA: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process will be implemented on a PAN India basis, and made it clear that nobody, irrespective of his/her religion would face no discrimination.
Even as Shah made a countrywide pitch for the NRC process, West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee assured people that no one could take anyone’s citizenship away in Bengal, and that her government wouldn’t divide people on communal lines.
Also TMC won’t allow such a citizen register in the state.
Shah told the Rajya Sabha that there is no provision in the NRC that people belonging to other religions will not be included in the register, he added.
He said the Centre accepts that refugees – Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis – who left Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan due to religious atrocities, should get Indian citizenship and this is why the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is there.
“The process of National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be carried out across the country. No one irrespective of their religion should be worried. It is just a process to get everyone under the NRC,” he said, replying to a supplementary during Question Hour.
In Assam, the NRC process was carried out as per Supreme Court order; he said and added that when the updating process will be implemented in the entire country Assam will also be included.
In Assam, the updated final NRC, which validates bonafide Indian citizens, has left out over 19 lakh applicants.
The NRC aims to identify illegal immigrants — primarily from Bangladesh — who entered Assam and settled there after March 25, 1971, and deport them to their native country.
Banerjee said the NRC in Assam was part of Assam Accord signed during the tenure of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and that the exercise can never be implemented across the country.
“There are few people who are trying to create disturbances in West Bengal in the name of implementation of the NRC. I want to make it very clear, we will never allow NRC in Bengal”.
“No one can take away your citizenship and turn you into a refugee. There can be no division on the basis of religion,” Banerjee said while addressing a public meeting in Sagardighi in Murshidabad district.
“The Assam government has not accepted the NRC. The Government of Assam and the BJP have requested the Home minister to reject the NRC,” said Himanta Biswa Sarma, Finance Minister of Assam.
In the Rajya Sabha, Shah said that in Assam, people whose name has not figured in the draft list, have the right to go to the Tribunal.
“Tribunals will be constituted across Assam. If any person doesn’t have the money to approach tribunals, then the Assam government will bear the cost to hire a lawyer,” he said.
He said the Lok Sabha had passed the Bill and the Select Committee had approved it but the previous House had lapsed.
“Now it will come again. It has no connection with the NRC,” he added.