Jammu: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh addressing a press conference in Jammu on Monday. PTI Photo   (PTI9_5_2016_000199B) *** Local Caption ***
Jammu: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh addressing a press conference in Jammu on Monday. PTI Photo (PTI9_5_2016_000199B) *** Local Caption ***

Maintaining that the MPs were extended all courtesies, the Union home minister said since there was no return flight to Kolkata or Delhi from Silchar, the MPs spent the night at the airport guest house and left for Kolkata this morning and had an onward flight to Delhi.

 New Delhi : The Opposition looked askance in the Rajya Sabha on Friday as Home Minister Rajnath Singh escaped replies to the tricky questions on the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRCs) as Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu came to his rescue switching over to the Question Hour and telling him to send written response to the concerned members.

The opposition members agreed that they were fault in asking too many questions and taking up too much time despite the Chair repeatedly reminding them that the Home Minister will not be able to reply to them if the zero hour is over at 12 noon and he has to move to the Question Hour. They were using their right to quiz the minister after his statement.

The pro-BJP nominated member Swapan Dagupta wanted to know whether those declared non-citizens after the final NRC is published will have the voting right and how will the government treat those in Assam as refugees due to persecution in other countries as different from the illegal migrants.

The home minister said the whole House has been always one on the issues of the national security, national pride and integrity of the country borders and he expects the same on the NRC aimed at identifying the foreigners living in Assam as illegal migrants. Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also assured on behalf of the Congress that there can’t be any compromise on national security and integrity of the country as no nation can keep its borders open for anyone to sneak in.

Rajnath Singh clarified that the NRC draft published on July 30 was only a draft and all those left out will have the right to make claims and objections and they can even go before the foreigners tribunals as the government is committed to no coercive action against anybody as also directed by the Supreme Court.

He also warned the House about some vested interests creating a fear on the social media to internationalise the issue and create communal disharmony. The Chairman intervened when Trinamul Congress leader Derek O’Brien and NCP’s Majid Memon drew attention to his own party president Amit Shah engaged in creating a disharmony by calling all those left out as “ghuspethia” (infilrators).

The Opposition members pointedly asked the Home Minister whether he approves all statements of the BJP leaders, dubbing those left out as “illegal migrants” without waiting for the final NRC as suggested by him. He, however, happily left the House as he had not to respond in view of the Chair telling him to send written responses to the members.

The Congress members like Rupan Bora and Bhuvnesh Kalita wanted extension of the September deadline for claims, provide legal aid to the poor and call an all-party meeting at the national level. RJD’s Manoj Jha too wanted the government to provide legal aid and hand holding to ensure not a single Indian is victimised as assured by the home minister.

Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma wanted the home minister to assure the nation that NRC is Assam specific in view of the huge panic in other states that it may be also carried out in other states. He also wanted a deadline set by the government to streamline the process for finalisation of the NRC as directed by the Supreme Court early this week.

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