Will not allow NRC in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

Will not allow NRC in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI file photo)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday challenged the Centre on the contentious NRC issue and reiterated that she will never allow the exercise in the state.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said a citizen's register on the lines of the NRC exercise in Assam will be implemented out across the country.

Stating that NRC in Assam was part of Assam Accord signed during the tenure of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, she said the exercise can never be implemented across the country.

"There are a few people who are trying to create disturbance in the state in the name of implementation of NRC. I want to make it very clear that I will never allow NRC in Bengal as long as I am power in the state," she said at a public meeting at Sagardighi in the border district of Murshidabad.

"No one can take away your (people) citizenship and turn you into a refugee. You are and will remain citizens of this country. There can be no division on the basis of religion," Banerjee, who is also the TMC supremo, said.

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 per cent Muslim population.

"A total 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 centers. In Bengal we (TMC) will never allow any detention center," she said.

Banerjee, who is a strident critic of the BJP, said that the saffron party should answer why 14 lakh Hindus and Bengalis were omitted from the final NRC list in Assam before it talks about implementing the citizens' register in West Bengal.

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, she said those involved in such conspiracies will not be successfull.

"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 National Register of Citizens 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 at 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 that 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 the labourers who have been brought back," she said.

Banerjee met the family members of all the five migrant labourers who were killed by terrorists at Kulgam in Kashmir. Incidentally all of them hailed from Sagardighi area of Murshidabad district.

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