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I was brain behind NRC update: Gogoi

By KALYAN BAROOAH
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NEW DELHI, June 27 - Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s claim that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was part of the Assam Accord, while describing himself as the brain behind the NRC update exercise.

Earlier, dramatic developments took place as the former Chief Minister was not allowed to hold a press meet at the conference hall of the Assam House. An infuriated Gogoi, in protest, held the press meet outside the Assam House on the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Marg, in scorching heat.

�The Government of Assam has imposed an emergency... It is very unfortunate that today I have to come on the road to address the media... The BJP takes pride in the name of democracy but indirectly, they have imposed emergency,� Gogoi said.

�I am not given the conference room (to hold a press meet), but I have the liberty to express my views in my (allotted) room... but I was not allowed to speak in my room also...,� the three-time Chief Minister lamented.

�Earlier, they had never prevented me, but there must be reason why I was not allowed to speak in my room today. There has to be some sort of guideline. It is an emergency-like situation. They want to shut our mouth, but we will hit the street to express our views,� Gogoi said.

�If we cannot criticise, then democracy is in peril. They are pressurising even the media. They are using central agencies like the CBI and ED as pressure tactics. There are many examples of such pressure tactics even in Assam,� he added.

Commenting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s statement yesterday in Rajya Sabha that the NRC was part of the Assam Accord, Gogoi said it was a blatant lie. The NRC was never a part of the Assam Accord, he said, adding that the Prime Minister �has not gone through the Assam Accord�.

Even if the NRC was mentioned in the Assam Accord then why did BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, the two-time Assam Chief Minister during the rule of its alliance partner AGP, not implement it, Gogoi asked.

�The NRC update exercise was my brainchild and I started it... In 2005, we held a tripartite meeting with the Prime Minister. In 2010, we had even started a pilot project, but it had to be abandoned because of violence and opposition by the AAMSU,� Gogoi said.

�Later, we set up a cabinet committee and firmed up the criteria in consultation with the AASU and AAMSU. We also held discussion with the RGI before we formally started work in 2013. NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela was appointed during our tenure,� he said.

�Today, the NRC is not being prepared like it should have been. There is a possibility of Indian citizens being dropped from the NRC. The NRC was not prepared to harass Indian citizens but to protect them,� Gogoi said.

This government has failed to prepare a correct NRC, let alone identify illegal migrants, the former Chief Minister said. �At least five year have passed. When will the process of identification of foreigners start. The NRC is not needed to identify foreigners,� he said, adding, infiltration is still going on through the Bangladesh border.

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I was brain behind NRC update: Gogoi

NEW DELHI, June 27 - Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s claim that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was part of the Assam Accord, while describing himself as the brain behind the NRC update exercise.

Earlier, dramatic developments took place as the former Chief Minister was not allowed to hold a press meet at the conference hall of the Assam House. An infuriated Gogoi, in protest, held the press meet outside the Assam House on the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Marg, in scorching heat.

�The Government of Assam has imposed an emergency... It is very unfortunate that today I have to come on the road to address the media... The BJP takes pride in the name of democracy but indirectly, they have imposed emergency,� Gogoi said.

�I am not given the conference room (to hold a press meet), but I have the liberty to express my views in my (allotted) room... but I was not allowed to speak in my room also...,� the three-time Chief Minister lamented.

�Earlier, they had never prevented me, but there must be reason why I was not allowed to speak in my room today. There has to be some sort of guideline. It is an emergency-like situation. They want to shut our mouth, but we will hit the street to express our views,� Gogoi said.

�If we cannot criticise, then democracy is in peril. They are pressurising even the media. They are using central agencies like the CBI and ED as pressure tactics. There are many examples of such pressure tactics even in Assam,� he added.

Commenting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s statement yesterday in Rajya Sabha that the NRC was part of the Assam Accord, Gogoi said it was a blatant lie. The NRC was never a part of the Assam Accord, he said, adding that the Prime Minister �has not gone through the Assam Accord�.

Even if the NRC was mentioned in the Assam Accord then why did BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, the two-time Assam Chief Minister during the rule of its alliance partner AGP, not implement it, Gogoi asked.

�The NRC update exercise was my brainchild and I started it... In 2005, we held a tripartite meeting with the Prime Minister. In 2010, we had even started a pilot project, but it had to be abandoned because of violence and opposition by the AAMSU,� Gogoi said.

�Later, we set up a cabinet committee and firmed up the criteria in consultation with the AASU and AAMSU. We also held discussion with the RGI before we formally started work in 2013. NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela was appointed during our tenure,� he said.

�Today, the NRC is not being prepared like it should have been. There is a possibility of Indian citizens being dropped from the NRC. The NRC was not prepared to harass Indian citizens but to protect them,� Gogoi said.

This government has failed to prepare a correct NRC, let alone identify illegal migrants, the former Chief Minister said. �At least five year have passed. When will the process of identification of foreigners start. The NRC is not needed to identify foreigners,� he said, adding, infiltration is still going on through the Bangladesh border.