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Cong wants 1971 as cut-off for deporting foreigners

By STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Dec 24 - The Congress party supports continuation of the cut-off date of March 25, 1971 for detection and deportation of foreigners from Assam, said Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Addressing the media here today, Azad said there are many genuine Indians citizens among the 19 lakh people left out of the final NRC and the party wants the government to ensure that all Indian nationals are included in the register. �Our party�s stand is that we want 1971 to remain as the cut-off,� he said.

Azad said the NRC update process in Assam has a historical context, unlike the proposed �nationwide NRC�.

�The Central and the State governments were not able to carry out the update in Assam properly. Over 19 lakh people got left out. Many of them are genuine Indian citizens. There are many examples where some members of the same family have been included in the NRC, while some others have been left out,� Azad said.

�First the Centre and the State should ensure that all genuine Indian citizens among the 19 lakh left out of the final NRC are included. It is unfortunate that even the process of appeals has yet to be started,� he said.

�And the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister now wants to have a nationwide NRC... They want to implement it across the country when there is no such need,� he said, adding, barring Assam the other states do not need the NRC.

The Congress leader complimented the people of Assam for maintaining communal harmony while carrying forward the agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, or the CAA.

�People of Assam never spoke of religion. People here have always been secular. At a time when the BJP is trying to divide the society on religious lines, the people of Assam have maintained their unity. The five persons killed in police action in the State during the anti-CAA protests hailed from different religious groups and communities,� Azad said.

He accused the BJP of raking up controversial issues like the CAA and the nationwide NRC with the purpose of diverting the attention of masses from its alleged failures in the governance front. �Bringing controversial laws is part of the BJP�s deliberate attempt to divert attention of the masses from its failures,� said Azad, who is also general secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

He mentioned record unemployment, rising inflation, downslide in GDP, distress in the farm sector and growth in crime against women as among the failures of the NDA regime. �There is allround failure of governance. So they (BJP) want to divert attention. They want to incite conflict on religious, regional and caste lines so that people do not demand solution to basic issues affecting them,� he added.

He admitted that the CAA issue is looked at from different perspectives by the law�s opponents in the Northeast and other parts of the country. Asked if the Congress will be willing to back the CAA if Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan are also made eligible for citizenship under it, Azad refrained from a direct reply and just said, �The issue in the Northeast is totally different.�

Azad also accused the BJP-led regime of attempting to intimidate and browbeat the student community, who are spearheading the anti-CAA agitation, not only in Assam but also in other states. He condemned incidents of police firing on protesters in Assam during the agitation and said that such use of force was unwarranted.

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Cong wants 1971 as cut-off for deporting foreigners

GUWAHATI, Dec 24 - The Congress party supports continuation of the cut-off date of March 25, 1971 for detection and deportation of foreigners from Assam, said Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Addressing the media here today, Azad said there are many genuine Indians citizens among the 19 lakh people left out of the final NRC and the party wants the government to ensure that all Indian nationals are included in the register. �Our party�s stand is that we want 1971 to remain as the cut-off,� he said.

Azad said the NRC update process in Assam has a historical context, unlike the proposed �nationwide NRC�.

�The Central and the State governments were not able to carry out the update in Assam properly. Over 19 lakh people got left out. Many of them are genuine Indian citizens. There are many examples where some members of the same family have been included in the NRC, while some others have been left out,� Azad said.

�First the Centre and the State should ensure that all genuine Indian citizens among the 19 lakh left out of the final NRC are included. It is unfortunate that even the process of appeals has yet to be started,� he said.

�And the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister now wants to have a nationwide NRC... They want to implement it across the country when there is no such need,� he said, adding, barring Assam the other states do not need the NRC.

The Congress leader complimented the people of Assam for maintaining communal harmony while carrying forward the agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, or the CAA.

�People of Assam never spoke of religion. People here have always been secular. At a time when the BJP is trying to divide the society on religious lines, the people of Assam have maintained their unity. The five persons killed in police action in the State during the anti-CAA protests hailed from different religious groups and communities,� Azad said.

He accused the BJP of raking up controversial issues like the CAA and the nationwide NRC with the purpose of diverting the attention of masses from its alleged failures in the governance front. �Bringing controversial laws is part of the BJP�s deliberate attempt to divert attention of the masses from its failures,� said Azad, who is also general secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

He mentioned record unemployment, rising inflation, downslide in GDP, distress in the farm sector and growth in crime against women as among the failures of the NDA regime. �There is allround failure of governance. So they (BJP) want to divert attention. They want to incite conflict on religious, regional and caste lines so that people do not demand solution to basic issues affecting them,� he added.

He admitted that the CAA issue is looked at from different perspectives by the law�s opponents in the Northeast and other parts of the country. Asked if the Congress will be willing to back the CAA if Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan are also made eligible for citizenship under it, Azad refrained from a direct reply and just said, �The issue in the Northeast is totally different.�

Azad also accused the BJP-led regime of attempting to intimidate and browbeat the student community, who are spearheading the anti-CAA agitation, not only in Assam but also in other states. He condemned incidents of police firing on protesters in Assam during the agitation and said that such use of force was unwarranted.