Mamata Banerjee Says Won't Allow NRC in Bengal After Amit Shah Calls for Pan-India Exercise
File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that her government will not allow the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to be implemented in West Bengal soon after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the exercise would be carried across the country.
Addressing a public meeting at Sagardighi in Murshidabad district, Banerjee said nobody can take away any person's citizenship and make him/her a refugee. She also challenged the BJP to clarify why the names of 14 lakh Hindus and Bengalis were left out of the final NRC brought out in Assam, published on August 31.
Stating that the NRC in Assam was part of the Assam Accord signed during the tenure of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, she said the exercise can never be implemented across India.
In a veiled dig at the BJP, the Trinamool Congress chief said a "few people" are trying to foment trouble in the state in the name of NRC.
"A few people are trying to foment trouble in the state by saying that NRC exercise will be carried out in Bengal. I would like to make it very clear that we will never allow the NRC exercise in Bengal," she said. "We won't allow anybody to divide people on the basis of religion."
Claiming that there is a "conspiracy" afoot to divide the state on religious lines, Banerjee said if some one thinks that it will be easy to divide Bengal on communal lines, then the person is "living in a fool's paradise".
Bengal shares a long and porous border with Bangladesh and has about 30% Muslim population.
"A total of 19 lakh people have been left out of the Assam NRC list. Those omitted include Hindus, Bengalis, Muslims, Gorkhas and Buddhists. They have been sent to detention centres. In Bengal, we (TMC) will never allow any detention centre," she said.
Shah told Rajya Sabha during the day that NRC will be implemented nationwide, and asserted that no person from any religion need to be afraid of it.
"The process of NRC will be carried out across the country. No one irrespective of their religion should be worried. It is just a process to get everyone under the NRC," Shah said in response to a supplementary during the Question Hour in the Upper House. He said there is no provision in NRC that excludes people belonging to other religions.
Stating that there are some people who want to create fissures between people in the Darjeeling Hills, between Rajbanshis and Kamtapuris in north Bengal, between Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and Bengalis who have lived here for generations, Banerjee said those involved in such conspiracies will not be successful.
"If you have one citizenship document, that's enough. Even if you don't need rations that are provided (at a subsidised rate) by the government, ensure that you have digital ration cards. Don't be misguided by people who want to divide communities, pit one against another," she told the gathering.
The proposed implementation of the NRC in Bengal has created panic, claiming 11 lives in the state following the omission of about 19.6 lakh names from the final NRC list in Assam.
Referring to the killing of five labourers from Bengal in Kulgam in Kashmir in October, Banerjee criticised the Centre for failing to protect non-Kashmiris in the Valley.
"You will find people from other states working in Bengal, but you will never see they have been beaten up or attacked. Then why are only Bengalis being attacked in Kashmir? We condemn it," she said.
Banerjee said the West Bengal government has provided compensation and other relief to the family members of the five killed in Kashmir, besides making special arrangements to bring back hundreds of Bengali labourers from there. "We have also provided compensation to the labourers who have been brought back," she said.
(With inputs from agencies)