Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president and Rajya Sabha MP Amit Shah on Tuesday slammed Opposition parties over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft issue, asking them to clear their stand on whether they care more for people of India and Assam or “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh.
In the final NRC draft, names of as many as 40 lakhs citizens were removed by the Assam government after they allegedly failed to provide documents to prove their nationality. The issue triggered a massive uproar in Parliament, with the Opposition parties accusing the BJP-led NDA government of cracking down on Muslims in the name of action against “illegal immigrants”.
"If you talk about human rights, what about the rights of people of Assam? Their rights of education, jobs were being taken away... This step has been taken for protecting the rights of the people of India. Every party should make their stand clear where rights of Indians are important or not," Shah said in a rare press conference.
The BJP president repeated the argument he made in Parliament and said that the NRC list was brought by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi but the Congress party didn’t have the courage to see the project through.
"I want to make this clear in front of the people that the NRC is a result of the Assam Accord signed by Rajiv Gandhi, when Congress had the full majority," he said.
Apart from Congress, another critique of the NRC draft, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee also came in the radar of Shah's all around attack. He accused Banerjee of "spreading confusion" among the people over the issue.
"I heard the whole speech (of Mamata Banerjee) and I am stunned by it. She is spreading confusion and playing vote bank politics," the BJP leader said.
Shah said that people excluded from the NRC list were not Indians, however, they will still get enough chances to prove their nationality as 40 lakh was not the final figure.
"People removed from the NRC list are not Indians. 40 lakh is not a final figure. SC laid down procedure will be followed,” he added.