Congress MP Abdul Khaleque has written to Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday, demanding the immediate removal of newly appointed NRC state coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma, alleging that he was "biased and unreliable".
Dev Sarma's name was announced for the post on November 9, following the transfer of former NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela to Madhya Pradesh on deputation for three years, reports the Telegraph.
In his letter, Khaleque, the Lok Sabha MP from Barpeta, wrote, "After the transfer of former NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela, we hoped that the state government would engage an unbiased and reliable civil servant in the interest of a transparent and smooth NRC. However, Hitesh Dev Sarma, who has been recently recruited by the state government in place of Hajela, is not neutral and dependableKhaleque said some of the contents uploaded by Dev Sarma on social media bore testimony to his allegation. "Dev Sarma's controversial updates on social media proves that he is not free from bigotry," he said.
Terming the NRC as a scientific, constitutional and historic document for Assam, he said they hoped for a meaningful completion of the NRC by detecting and deporting all foreigners illegally settled in the state and including every genuine Indian.
"But to achieve this, removal of Dev Sarma, the new state NRC coordinator, is fundamental," he said.
Dev Sarma, a 1989-batch Assam Civil Service officer, has been critical of Bangladeshis residing in the state in his Facebook posts. One post, written on October 1, 2019, says, "I like Arnab Goswami's logic. We cannot accept a foreigner as Indian even if he speaks Assamese" In another post, written in Assamese in January 2019, Dev Sarma said: "Bengali Muslims" from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) took advantage of the infiltration crisis in Assam.
The Telegraph tried to contact Dev Sarma for his reaction. However, he did not answer calls or reply to the text message sent to him. State BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said, "The Congress has no issue to catch the attention of the public. Therefore, disturbing the government's functioning, raising an irrelevant issue has become their agenda. Congress has no reason to terminate the present NRC coordinator biased and inefficient."