The Centre should have consulted all parties to work out a “unanimous mechanism” before going ahead with the National Register of Citizens exercise in Assam, Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav has said.
Taking a dig at the Modi government, the former Union minister said it has been unable to ensure the safety of women and girls in the country but talks of cow protection.
The NRC, a list of Assam citizens, was published on July 30 with the names of over 40 lakh residents of the state not being included in it.
“The government should have called an all-party meeting to find out an amicable solution to the problem in Assam. But if you do it just like that, you won’t be able to do it by just declaring a cut-off date… you will get tired,” Mr Yadav told PTI in an interview.
The former Janata Dal (United) chief said he agrees that the issue of Assam has “reflections on democracy”, but asserted they should have found a “justifiable solution of the problem and a unanimous mechanism” for it.
Criticising the BJP, Sharad Yadav said, “This party is not giving ticket to any Muslim. Therefore, we are not ready to believe that it will do justice with them.”
“People have come here from Tibet. Bangladeshis had come and gone to Bangladesh. When Pakistan was created, a large number of people went there and were called ‘Mohajirs’, and Sikhs too had come here from there,” he said.
This movement of population took place maximum in India, he claimed.
“No proper debates are taking place in Parliament. Many agitations are going on in the country. If you find on which date a person had come to this country, then it (country) will get destroyed,” he said.
On the bill tabled in Parliament to overturn the Supreme Court verdict putting safeguards on arrests under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Mr Yadav claimed the government has done so “under pressure” in view of the bandh call given by all opposition parties.
“Dalits came to my place and strategies for both (bandh) 2nd (April 2) and on ninth (August 9) were formulated. Everyone, including Ambedkarites and others like Sharad Pawar, and other parties supported it,” he added.
The bill was brought under pressure, otherwise the government could have fallen on the issue, he said.
“The government should have brought it at the time when the Supreme Court had given that judgement of diluting the SC/ST Act,” he said.
The Supreme Court had in an order on March 20 diluted certain provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
It had laid down new guidelines for police officers on how to ensure that innocent people, especially public officials, are protected from false complaints under the Act.
Dalit groups had organised protests across the country on April 2 against the “dilution” of the Act.
Asked if he would support the candidature of Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the prime minister’s post in the next elections, Mr Yadav said the party had itself clarified its position on the issue. Therefore, there is no need for him to make a statement on it.
The Congress said its first objective is to stop the BJP from coming to power in 2019, he noted, adding that saving the Constitution and democracy is a major issue.
“The time is to save the democracy, like in 1977. That was a declared Emergency but this time it is undeclared, in which one cannot predict where things will go wrong,” he said.
Further criticising the central government, Mr Yadav alleged that it is unable to protect women and girls and “talks about cow first”.
“They have become a champion of cows,” he quipped.