Oppn alleges conspiracy to axe Bengali-speaking people from Assam

Baseless charge, says Rajnath
Report by: 
Agencies
NEW DELHI
4 Jan 2018

Opposition members in the Lok Sabha today alleged a conspiracy to drive out Bengali-speaking population from Assam, a charge rejected as "baseless" by Union home minister Rajnath Singh.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) member Saugata Roy raised the issue as soon as the Zero Hour began, pointing out that names of 1.3 crore people out of 3.29 crore population of Assam had not appeared in the first draft of National Register of Citizens, which aims at identifying illegal immigrants. "We fear this is a conspiracy to drive out Bengali- speaking people from Assam," Roy said, drawing vociferous support from his party MPs and some members of the Congress and the Left parties. Responding to the claim, the home minister said the NCR work was going on under the supervision of the Supreme Court and there was no need for anyone to feel concerned. "Those whose names have been left out can approach a tribunal. It is a baseless allegation that some people are being driven out," Singh said.

The CPM too alleged that the linguistic minorities, including Bengalis, in Assam were being targeted in the name of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and said the problem should be resolved amicably on the basis of the Constitution and "not on the whims" of RSS-BJP. Charging the BJP government in the state with using religion and language as tools to divide the people of Assam, the party also lashed out at the prime minister for allegedly "using vote bank politics to win polls" there. "The Prime Minister is squarely responsible for this crisis. The Prime Minister for the sake of votes tried to rake up the same issue during the poll campaign in Assam. He had promised that all those who came from across the border will be sent back, as the RSS and BJP believe that all Bengali- speaking people are Bangladeshis," CPI(M) leader Mohd Salim told reporters here. Salim claimed that though the "fragile unity" in Assam was somewhat achieved through the Assam Accord, the RSS has been propagating for long "to divide" the Bengali-speaking population using religion.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had on Wednesday said all those excluded in the first National Register of Citizens draft should not worry as no one will be discriminated against on the basis of caste or community and given opportunities to prove their citizenship. Sonowal also said a mechanism has to be devised "humanely" by the Centre on what to do with those found to be illegal immigrants after finalisation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a list of the state's citizens. The BJP had made identification of illegal immigrants in Assam from Bangladesh, an overwhelming number of whom are Muslims, its key poll plank during the assembly polls in 2016.