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    This is Bengal, No Question of Implementing NRC or Setting up Detention Camps: Mamata Banerjee

    File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

    File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

    The CM’s reaction came days after Union Home Minister in an exclusive interview to News18 indicated that the ruling BJP has started work behind the scenes for a nationwide rollout of NRC.

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    Sujit Nath

    Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that there is no question of extending support to the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and possibility of setting up detention camps — similar to the ones in Assam and other states to accommodate infiltrators — in West Bengal.

    While chairing an administrative meeting with government officers at ‘Uttar Kanya’ (north Bengal secretariat) in Siliguri, she said, “I would like to clarify that there is no question of implementation of the National Register for Citizens (NRC) in Bengal. Therefore, construction of detention camps does not arise. They did this in Assam because it is presently ruled by the BJP. In Bengal, it’s our government. We run the government. I would like to assure all that there is no question of NRC or detention camps here.”

    Banerjee said the NRC exercise was implemented in Assam because it was a part of the Assam Accord signed in 1985.

    According to the accord, those who settled in the state after the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, would be stripped of citizenship rights (if they failed to produce convincing documents). On August 31, the final list of NRC was released and about 19 lakh people were left out it.

    On Citizenship Amendment Bill, she said, “We didn’t support the bill. We opposed it in Parliament because such things should not be based religion. If it (CAB) is passed, then they will treat you as a foreigner for six years. What will you do with such people for six years? And then, what will happen? Does anyone know?”

    The Trinamool Congress supremo has been one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most strident critics in recent times and on several occasions, challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre to implement the NRC and CAB in the state.

    “If you have the guts please try to bring this in Bengal. I warn you please don’t play with the fire. NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill will make you foreigners for five years. After that they will see whether to grant you citizenship or not. Please don’t fall in their trap. They will chase away Bengalis from Bengal in the name of NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill. I have read the bill and if I am saying something wrong, then shoot me,” Banerjee had said at a gathering in Cooch Behar on April 8, 2019.

    The CM’s reaction came days after Union Home Minister in an exclusive interview to News18 indicated that the ruling BJP has started work behind the scenes for a nationwide rollout of NRC. He said the detention centres being constructed all over the country is the government’s way of “preparing in advance”.

    “The process (of detention) will be managed by the Foreigners Tribunals (FT). The government has its own preparations to make. There is a legal process where FTs are concerned. That process has just started,” he had said.

    Shah has claimed that the Modi government would implement the NRC all over the country and “throw out infiltrators” from every inch of Indian land and he reiterated it during the interview, saying that it will be done before the 2024 general elections.

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