Mamata's opposition to NRC amounts to contempt of court: Assam government

Guwahati, Assam, IndiaUpdated: Aug 02, 2018, 07:15 AM IST
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File photo of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. Photograph:(WION Web Team)

The Assam government said on Wednesday that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's opposition to the Supreme Court-monitored NRC in the northeastern state amounted to "contempt of court" and she is not above the apex court.

Banerjee's allegations against the National Register of Citizens, whose final draft was published on July 30, are "baseless", Assam government spokesman Chandra Mohan Patowary, who is also the state's parliamentary affairs minister, told newsmen in Guwahati.

Asked if the Assam government will file a contempt of court case against Banerjee, Patowary said, "We will see at the appropriate time since she is speaking against the Supreme Court."

"She (Banerjee) does not have the right to remark as the NRC is a legal process," the minister told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Guwahati.

"As a chief minister Mamata Banerjee should have the basic knowledge that when she opposes a matter (NRC) monitored by the honourable Supreme Court it will amount to contempt of court. She is not above the Supreme Court," he added.

Banerjee has opposed the NRC in Assam, saying it will lead to "civil war and bloodbath in the country" as over 40 lakh applicants have been excluded in the final draft of the citizen's register.

"Everyone here condemns Mamata Banerjee's instigating speeches and rejects them... People of Assam have condemned and rejected her conspiracy to bring division in Assam. 

"It will never be allowed by the people here. They want an error-free NRC should be brought out and so peace continues to reign in the state," he added.

Banerjee, he asserted, has violated the direction of the Supreme Court to identify genuine Indian nationals living in Assam and as chief minister she should know that an order by it should not be dishonoured.

"Mamata Banerjee has made the statements keeping in view the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and with a political motive. People of Assam have rejected her attempts and she cannot bring division in Assamese society as all here are united that we should have an NRC in the state," Patowary said.

The government spokesman said that ensuring publication of the NRC is the duty of every Indian citizen. Every resident in Assam irrespective of religion, caste or language has peacefully cooperated for publication of the complete draft NRC and thanked all those involved in publishing it.

On the proposed visit of a team of the Banerjee's Trinamool Congress to Assam on Thursday, Patowary said as a political party it has the right to do so. 

"But if through their instigational speeches the team members try to disturb the peaceful situation in Assam and create division among the people, our government will not remain a mute spectator," he added.

The Assam government will be with the people as every citizen here wants the NRC. "So Mamata Banerjee's group of MPs or her other leaders visiting Assam will have no impact in the state and people here will remain alert", Patowary said.

Referring to her allegations, Assam Speaker Hiten Goswami said, "We want India to be for Indian nationals and not for foreigners... The 40 lakh people (excluded from the NRC) are not foreigners. Both Assam and Central governments are working as per the directions of the Supreme Court".

Earlier in the day, a police complaint was registered against Banerjee at Lakhimpur by a youth leader over her alleged provocative remarks on the NRC draft.

Sudipta Hazarika, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Parishad, filed the complaint at the North Lakhimpur Sadar police station.

"Going against the Supreme Court Mamata Banerjee is making all efforts to halt the NRC process by meeting the Union home minister. There is apprehension that an uncalled for the situation may be created anytime," Hazarika said in the complaint said.

The police are yet to file an FIR.