New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday assured visiting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that nobody will be harassed in Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) updation process and that it was published in line with the provisions of Assam Accord.
The Minister’s remarks came after his 45-minute meeting with Banerjee at his residence.
“I have told her that the draft NRC had been published in accordance with the provisions of Assam Accord and as per decisions taken in a tripartite meeting on February 5, 2005 between the Centre, state government of Assam and All Assam Students Union to update NRC, 1951,” Rajnath Singh tweeted.
The Minister said he told Banerjee that the exercise to update NRC was being carried out in a totally fair, transparent, non-discriminatory and legal manner.
“Nobody will be harassed in the process and at every stage of the process, adequate opportunity of being heard will be given to all persons. The draft NRC has been prepared in accordance with the law under the monitoring of the Supreme Court,” he said.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Banerjee said she asked Singh to reiterate his “promise” in Parliament.
“I also asked him to amend the (NRC) Act or reintroduce it in Parliament in order to protect these people; else, there should be a solution to prevent any kind of harassment to them. We want them to live in peace,” she said.
In the meeting, Banerjee said she expressed her displeasure over 40 lakh people losing voting rights and citizenship.
“I told him that these people were citizen of India as per the Liaquat-Nehru pact. Many came from Bangladesh as refugee and they speak Bangla. I told him (Singh) that it is wrong to isolate them in the name of NRC,” she said.
“I told him that these people will lose their identity, which is not good. How would they get food, education, employment? He promised that inhuman treatment will not be given to these people.”
Earlier in the day, addressing a conclave by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India here, Banerjee attacked the Narendra Modi government over the NRC draft, saying people are being victimised to win elections and that it would lead to a bloodbath and civil war.
She accused the Centre of interfering with the judiciary.
Over 40 lakh people were excluded in the final draft list of the NRC released on Monday.
After the release of the draft, the Centre has urged people not to panic as “ample opportunity” will be given to the applicants if they file claims and objections between August 30 and September 28.
The final list will be ready by December 31.
Banerjee also lodged her complaint with Singh against the announcement by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader that West Bengal would the next state after Assam where NRC updation exercise would be taken up.
“I told him that your (BJP) leader said that West Bengal is the next. Why this audacity? It may also be done in Bihar, later in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh. It will lead to civil war,” she said.
She said that Singh assured her that the proposal of changing name of the West Bengal would be taken up soon.