Amit Shah recalls Rajiv Gandhi’s Assam Accord to hit back at Congress over NRC

As Opposition raised objections over Assam’s National Register of Citizens, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Tuesday accused them of attemting to shield Bangladeshi infiltrators. He also hit out at the Congress claiming that an initiative similar to NRC was started by former PM Rajiv Gandhi but the government then did not have the courage to implement it.

“Under NRC, illegal immigrants are identified and a separate register of citizens should be made. Rajiv Gandhi signed Assam accord in 1985, which was similar to NRC. Previous governments did not have the courage to implement it, but we had the courage so we went ahead with the same,” Amit Shah said.

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His statement led to an uproar in the Rajya Sabha leading to adjournment of the House. Political parties have been lashing out at the Centre for NRC claiming that it will have serious ramifications.

Names of over 40 lakh residents have not been included in the NRC, touted to be a proof of Assamese identity, that was released by the state government on Monday. However, residents have been asked not to worry as this is just a draft and not the final list and they can file claims if they are citizens of the state.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also slammed the Opposition for politicising a sensitive issue. “I want to ask the Opposition, what is the Centre’s role in this? It is happening under the supervision of the Supreme Court. Such sensitive issues should not be politicized,” he had said in Parliament on Monday.

Claiming that the draft NRC is completely “impartial”, he assured the residents who do not have their name in the data not to panic. He added that they will get an opportunity to prove their Indian citizenship. “Some people are unnecessarily trying to create an atmosphere of fear. This is a completely impartial report. No misinformation should be spread. This is a draft and not the final list. No coercive action will be taken against anyone. Hence, there is no need for anyone to panic,” he said.

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