NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha today witnessed vociferous protests soon after BJP President Amit Shah took a jibe at the erstwhile Congress-led governments for not showing the courage to identify illegal migrants in Assam in accordance with the 1985 accord, forcing adjournment of the proceedings for the day.
Shah's remarks asking whether the Opposition wanted "to save illegal Bangladeshis in Assam", provoked the opposition members including those from the Congress and TMC who trooped into the Well demanding a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The first adjournment till noon occured during the Zero Hour when TMC (Trinamool Congress) members created an uproar after their demand for a short debate on the NRC in Assam was not accepted by Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.
Later when the House reassembled, the discussion was taken up setting aside the Question Hour.
Participating in the debate, Shah said then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had signed the Assam Accord on August 14, 1985 and declared it on August 15, after the movement in the state went out of control leading to the death of some protesters.
He noted that the NRC was the spirit of this accord which sought to identify illegal migrants into Assam and prepare a list of Indian citizens.
"This was the Congress PM's initiative. He (Rajiv Gandhi) did not have the courage. We have courage and we are doing it," he informed the House.
"NRC is being conducted on the SC order. There are 40 lakh people (missing in the list) ... Whom do you want to save? You want to save illegal Bangaldesis," the BJP chief posed.
Shah's remarks provoked noisy protests by the Opposition members led by those from the Congress and the TMC. The House was adjourned for about 10 minutes.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh was present in the House at that time but could not reply due to the noisy protests.
When the House reassembled after the 10 minute break, TMC and Congress members were again in the Well raising slogans "PM jawab do" even as the Chair tried to bring order in the House.
Naidu said, "This is not the way. Every member has a right to express his views. Please go back to your seats."
He also asked protesting members to have patience and tolerance towards others' views. "Is this democracy? You are supposed to show a dignified behaviour. Rajya Sabha is the House of Elders. Entire country is watching. Don't make a mockery of it."
As unrelenting protests continued, the Chairman adjourned the proceedings for the day.