Home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC), on the lines of the exercise in Assam, will be carried out across the country. He also underscored the point that there is no need for people from any religion to be worried about it.
“The NRC has no such provision that says that certain religions will be excluded from it. All citizens of India irrespective of religion will figure in the NRC list. The NRC is different from the Citizenship Amendment Bill,” said Shah addressing the Rajya Sabha.
“The process of NRC will be carried out across the country. No one irrespective of religion should be worried, it is just a process to get everyone under the NRC,” he added.
In the NRC final list published on August 31, over 1.9 million people were left out of the citizenship register.
Shah said people who names are missing from the draft list have the right to go to tribunals, which will be constituted across Assam. He added that those who can’t afford lawyers to go to a tribunal will be provided financial help by the Assam government.
Some BJP ruled states — like Uttarakhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand — have already announced that they will conduct Assam-like NRC exercise in their states.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government plans to amend the Citizenship Act in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament. The Citizenship Amendment Bill speeds up the process under which non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan can get Indian citizenship.
“Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Christian, Parsi refugees should get citizenship. The Citizenship Amendment Bill is needed so that these refugees who are being discriminated on basis of religion in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan, get Indian citizenship,” Shah told Parliament on Wednesday.
There have been opposition from various political parties on the CAB. Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday called it “another trap like the NRC.”
She alleged that CAB was part of BJP’s “divisive politics” to make electoral gains. “It is a trap to exclude Bengalis and Hindus from the list of legal citizens and make them refugees in their own country,” Banerjee said at a rally in north Bengal.
There have been protests across the northeastern states over the government’s plan to table the CAB. In Assam, protesters have argued that it goes against the provisions of the Assam Accord that seek to safeguard the interests of indigenous people.
There were protests and marches on Monday across seven states in the northeast against the legislation.