The home minister in Rajya Sabha also said the draft was not the “final one” and those who have been left out, will get an opportunity to provide the required documentary proof.
Accusing vested interests of trying to create an atmosphere of fear and communal disharmony on social media over the Assam National Register of Citizen, the government on Friday said there will be no discrimination in finalising it.
Replying to a short duration on the Assam NRC draft issue in the Rajya Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured that the names of no Indian citizen will be left out from the NRC as the process was fair and objective.
A political controversy has erupted after the names of about 40 lakh people did not find place in the final draft NRC published on July 31.
The home minister also said that the Centre has provided security forces as requested by the state government to ensure peace, harmony and public order.
“The whole process (adopted for NRC) is fair and objective. There has not been any discrimination. I want to assure that there will not be any discrimination in future as well. It is not fair if someone makes such allegations,” Singh said as he gave a brief history of the NRC and the Assam Accord of 1985.
He said every country wants to identify genuine citizens and “it is their responsibility”, he said and sought the cooperation of all parties on the matter saying it related to national security.
Stressing that the draft NRC was not the “final one”, the minister said all those who have been left out, will get an opportunity to provide the required documentary proof.
“There will not be any coercive action (against those not in the list),” the minister asserted.
He said “it is unfortunate that an atmosphere of fear has been created. Some confusion has been created through some people. Propaganda has been carried out through vested interest on social media to internationalise the issue and disturb the communal harmony.”
Certain people are trying to create communal disharmony and this should not be done, he added.
“I would like to clarify that this is only a draft and not the final NRC. The process has been done under the observation of Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is monitoring the process,” he said, adding that the process will be taken to a logical conclusion.
After the home minister’s reply, several members welcomed the statement, with some seeking clarifications and some others giving suggestions on the NRC.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu sought to know if former prime minister and member of the House Manmohan Singh would like to comment as the home minister had taken his name.
The former prime minister, however, preferred not to speak.
Naidu also asked the home minister to provide written replies to the clarifications raised by the members as the Zero Hour ended and the House took up the Question Hour.
Ripun Bora of the Congress demanded that the guidelines related to the NRC should be further modified as a large number of women and children were facing difficulties in proving their lineage.
He said West Bengal government had verified only a small fraction of the total 1.2 lakh applications in relation to the NRC.
Rashtriya Janata Dal member Manoj Jha opined that those who were not in the draft list should not be termed as “infiltrators”.
Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress said the matter was not just limited to Assam but was a national issue.
He also took a pot-shot at the BJP saying its national president was speaking a different language on the issue than the home minister.
As the Chairman asked him to be brief saying he has been a “quiz master”, Derek said he is now leader of TMC and no longer a quiz master.
Leader of Opposition and senior Congress member Ghulam Nabi Azad said there could be no compromise with security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
He suggested that the government as well as the ruling party should speak in one language while highlighting that even the names of people who have served for over 30 years in the army and the air force were missing from the draft.
Earlier, the Chairman informed the House that a privilege notice has been received from a MP from West Bengal and it was being examined. The notice related to the arrest of TMC MPs in Assam.
The House paid homage to its former member, Bhishma Narain Singh, who passed away on August 1 at the age of 85 years.