With many in Assam crying foul after being left out of the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC), Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju said that a few lapses cannot lead to scrapping of the entire process.
“Lapses do happen, but there must be provisions to rectify those lapses. If there are lapses, we must ensure that they are taken care of,” Rijiju told CNN-News18.
Rijiju insisted that people who have been left out must get their documents in place to prove their Indian citizenship. “If somebody is not Indian, then that person should be scared of the system and the laws. If somebody is living illegally in this country, why should they be comfortable,” Rijiju asked.
He added that people who are genuine Indians have nothing to fear.
Rijiju also expressed hope that the NRC process would be completed before the 2019 elections.
The minister then got down to criticise opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi and Asaduddin Owaisi who have criticised NRC and said that the Opposition should make its stand clear on illegal migrants.
“Why is Opposition raising an issue? Why is there a need to spread fear psychosis among people? Everybody must cooperate in this case. This is an exercise in the national interest. In this case, the kind of statements Mamata Banerjee has made, is very unbecoming as a chief minister,” Rijiju said.
Congress MP from Silchar, Sushmita Dev on Wednesday alleged that Bengali-speaking Assamese people, who travel to neighbouring states for work are being beaten up over the NRC issue.
Rijiju has also engaged in a bitter war of words with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who tweeted, “BJP wants Assamese Identity to be intact at the cost of sacrificing Identity of 40 Lakh people BUT in Kashmir BJP wants Article 35 (A to) be scrapped to dilute Kashmiri Identity ? BJP is playing politics of Convenience & Identity where it suits them politically but Sctt (supreme court) is monitoring.”
Rebutting the charge, Rijiju questioned why opposition leaders have never spoken about Kashmiri Pandits.
“Then why are they not talking about the Kashmir Pandits who have left the Kashmir valley? Why have they not supported the position taken by BJP in favour of Kashmir Pandits,” Rijiju asked.
Owaisi soon tweeted back, saying,”Mantriji how many Honourable Kashmiri Pandits have you taken back to Kashmiri, Mantriji we support respectful return of Kashmiri Pandits but your 56 …. leader failed the Pandits.”
The Opposition has attacked the government in the Parliament as well over the past couple of days. Rajya Sabha was adjourned after the Opposition objected to BJP chief Amit Shah’s statement on NRC in the House.