New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday accused the BJP of distorting the process of Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC) for political gains and lashed out at Amit Shah for deliberately giving a "mischievous twist" to the issue by branding any questions on the exercise as support for illegal Bangladesh immigrants.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the NRC was aimed at reflecting the aspirations of the Assamese people and not as a tool to divide the society, which BJP government is making it out to be. "History will never pardon the ilk of Modi-Amit Shah for distorting the entire process for opportunistic political gains," he said.
Congress leader Anand Sharma rejected the charges levelled by Shah, who had said in Rajya Sabha that the Congress governments did not have the courage to carry out the NRC to identify illegal immigrants in Assam in accordance with the 1985 accord.
Sharma said the Congress in principle agrees with the idea of the NRC, but has objections to the manner in which it is implemented as many anomalies and flaws have been discovered due to which a large number of people having valid documents are left out.
"The issue that the Congress is highlighting is that a large number of Indians have been rendered as refugees in their own country and this was unacceptable," he said and urged the BJP and the government to behave responsibly on the issue in national interest and unity.
Sharma said that since Monday, the Opposition has been demanding a structured debate on the developments after the release of the draft National Register of Citizens. He alleged that the issue is being "misrepresented" by the BJP and its leadership.
"It was important for the Opposition to register its concern with regard to disenfranchising our own citizens who have been from other states or from Assam as indigenous people should be rendered refugees in our country. This is a humanitarian aspect," he said.
The Congress' reaction came after Shah attacked the Opposition party for questioning the NRC draft list, in which 40 lakh people were excluded, saying "whom do you want to save? You want to save illegal Bangladeshis". His remarks had drawn angry protests from the opposition leading to adjournment of the Rajya Sabha.
Later addressing a press conference, the BJP chief demanded that other parties make clear their stand on the issue.
Hitting out at Shah, Sharma said, "The BJP leadership is deliberately giving it a mischievous twist. What has been said by them, we reject it in entirety? We are one country. The people from various states go and live in other states of the country either for work, business or marriage. They cannot be termed as non-citizens. That is one of the concerns."
The Congress leader said the Supreme Court orders should actually be observed in letter and spirit. "The home minister says that the government has nothing to do. It is as per the directions of the Supreme Court... The BJP president's assertion was unwarranted and provocative, and is also an insult to the Supreme Court. This implies that, it is the BJP which is directing the Supreme Court. It is a serious matter. It needs immediate clarification," he said.
He added that all Opposition leaders, including Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, had raised their concerns in the Upper House on Tuesday, demanding the government's response on the issue.
The Congress leader said the disruption in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday was entirely due to the "unwarranted provocative statement made by BJP leaders and the BJP members, which is in direct conflict with what the home minister informed Lok Sabha".
"It is for the home minister now to clarify whether he stands by the statement that he made on Monday in the Lok Sabha or he agreed with the statement that has been made in the Rajya Sabha by BJP president Shri Amit Shah. That truth must come out," he said.
Surjewala said that on one hand, Shah seeks "fake credit" for NRC in Assam, and on the other side, the Narendra Modi government brings in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, "both of which are contrarian in spirit of one another". "Will Amit Shah answer that?" he asked.
Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh ascribes the NRC process to the supervision of the Supreme Court, he said, alleging that Shah "falsified" the statement his home minister made in Parliament by "lame-duck credit seeking for implementing NRC". "Who is lying? Rajnath Singh or Amit Shah?"
"Amit Shah and company are the virulent inheritors of the British East India Company. Their divide-and-rule policy spreads venomous hate and decimate India's brotherhood to garner votes is their principle agenda," he alleged.
Updated Date: Jul 31, 2018 22:14:49 IST