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Uproar in Rajya Sabha over minister’s nationality

The Narendra Modi government rejected the opposition’s call to debate Nisith Pramanik’s nationality in the Rajya Sabha and slammed them for casting aspersions on a tribal leader. Amidst opposition members calling Pramanik a Bengali national (without naming him), Union Minister and Leader of the House Piyush Goyal said such remarks should be removed as it insults Pramanik and the society he belongs to.. As a result of the uproar, the House was adjourned until 3 pm.

Sekhar said, ‘Go to Wikipedia, and you will find the name of a gentleman… A Minister of State for Home Affairs is reportedly a Bangladeshi’. Later, Kharge replied, ‘I have every right to know whether he is a Bangladeshi or not’. Assam Congress president Ripun Bora wrote to Modi last week asking for an inquiry into the matter. In the recent revamp of the Union Cabinet, Pramnik was appointed junior minister for home and sports. A number of allegations have been made against him since his elevation, including questions about his educational background.

The silence of Pramanik on the issues has provided fodder for the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state and has also made news in his home district, Cooch Behar. However, some BJP leaders said Pramanik is busy with two key portfolios and will respond at the right time.

According to the report, Nisith was born in Bhetaguri, a town in the Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. ‘He works as a teacher at the Balakura Nimna Buniyadi Vidyalaya. He resides in Bhetaguri with his mother, Chhanda Barman Pramanik. His father’s descendants live in Harinathpur in undivided Kamatapur. The allegations that the government minister is a Bangladeshi are completely false’, the report says.

The controversy began when several Bangladeshi media outlets published stories that Pramanik’s ancestral village celebrated his elevation as a Union minister and that some of his relatives distributed sweets over the issue. Bora reportedly said in his letter that Pramanik was born in Bangladesh. He was born in Harinathpur village under the Palashbari police station in a neighboring country.

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While several opposition members were shouting slogans and protesting the Farm Laws and fuel price hike, PM Modi was prevented from introducing his newly appointed Union ministers to the Rajya Sabha. According to him, this mindset prevents them from showing respect to the new ministers who are women, Dalits, and members of Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Communities.

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