The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day following an uproar by the opposition, especially the Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party over the publication of Assam’s National Register of Citizens. The Upper House witnessed three adjournmments earlier in the day due to the continued uproar over the issue before the Chair called it a day at 2:13 pm. When the House reconvened at 2 pm after the last adjournment, TMC leader Derek O’Brien of Trinamool Congress stood up demanding a discussion on the notice given by him on the NRC.
However, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he had taken the initiative earlier in the day and even called Home Minister Rajnath Singh to the House to respond on the issue, but the House was not in order. “Home Minister came all the way to the House, neither the members were willing to say anything, nor did they allow the House to function,” Naidu said, adjourning the Rajya Sabha for ten minutes.
When the House reconvened at 2:11 pm, O’Brien again demanded a discussion on the issue under Rule 267. “It is not a political issue sir. It is a question of human rights, it is a humanitarian issue, it is a national issue, … we need to look after Indian citizens. Please allow me to raise this issue sir,” he said. However, Naidu reiterated that he had called the Home Minister to the House earlier in the day for a discussion, but the House was not in order and hence the opportunity could not be utilised. “I assure you I will give the first opportunity tomorrow morning in the beginning of session itself,” Naidu said.
However, O’Brien was unrelenting and, with other TMC members joining him in raising the issue, forced Naidu to adjourn the House for the day. Out of 3.29 crore applicants, 2.89 crore have been found eligible for inclusion in the complete draft of NRC, that was released in Guwahati this morning. This meant that the names of 40.07 lakh have been left out.
When the House had assembled for the day and listed papers were laid after mourning the death of former member N Thangaraj Pandian, TMC members led by their leader Derek O’Brien were up on their feet raising the issue. SP members and some from the Congress too started raising the issue leading to a din.
Naidu first said he had not received any notice and later said that some members had met him and expressed their desire to raise the NRC issue. As the din continued, he adjourned the House till noon. When it reconvened, the opposition members, especially Congress, TMC and Samajwadi Party, were on their feet to raise the issue again. But Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did not allow them and adjourned the proceedings for the second time till 2 pm.
Later, O’Brien told reporters that TMC has decided to circulate a note on NRC among other political parties. “We think the NRC is inhumsn and violates human rights. We would circulate a note on it among all political parties,” he said. Alleging that the government did not consult West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on the issue, the TMC leader said that a delegation of TMC MPs would soon visit Assam.