'Conspiracy to axe Bengali- speaking people from Assam'
New Delhi: Opposition members in the Lok Sabha on Thursday alleged a conspiracy to drive out Bengali-speaking population from Assam; a charge rejected as "baseless" by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Trinamool Congress 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.
Before Parliament proceedings, TMC MPs staged a protest in front of Gandhi statue over the NRC issue in Assam on Thursday morning.
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," Rajnath Singh said.
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 essential poll plank during the assembly polls in 2016.
It went on to win the election with a substantial majority, forming its first government in the state. Opposition parties have claimed that the exercise has harassed many genuine citizens as well.