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Bengalis are being persecuted in the name of NRC: Mamata Banerjee attacks BJP

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 30 July 2018, 17:06 IST

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed her concern about the fate of 40 lakh people whose names have been dropped from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the neighbouring state of Assam.

According to Banerjee, “The Centre is playing a divide and rule policy. People's names have been struck off even though they have the necessary documents. So many Bengalis, Biharis, Hindus, and Muslims are very much Indians, but their names have been dropped”.

Banerjee said she would take the matter up with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during her visit to Delhi this week. She has also instructed her MPs to visit Assam to assess the ground situation as people who have been excluded from the NRC list could not be contacted.

“I am worried about the present situation in Assam as internet services have been suspended and we unable to trace the whereabouts of hundreds of people staying there. I have also received information that 15 companies of central paramilitary forces have been pressed into service in Assam”.

“I will tell my MPs to visit Assam soon. I will also visit the state if the situation becomes worse. If something happens in Assam it will definitely affect Bengal. Therefore, we cannot remain mute spectators,” she added.

Banerjee complained that the Centre undertook this process without consulting states like West Bengal, which would be affected.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Banerjee said that NRC was a ploy by the BJP government divide communities ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“In its effort to play politics, BJP has forgotten humanity. How can a government make its own people stateless?” asked Banerjee.

“It's not just (Bengali speaking) Muslims, the government has also harmed Bengali Hindus and Biharis as well,” she added.

She alleged that there is an concerted attempt to attack Bengalis.

“They are trying to implement the Bengali Khedao (Drive Out Bengalis) slogan,” she said.

Banerjee further put forward documents of people whose names have been dropped from the NRC even though they had submitted their Aadhar card, voter's id and passport.

“How come these people are not Indians? We fought for these people. But the Centre and Assam remained mute spectators.

She said that the All India Trinamool Congress will raise the issue in Parliament.

The NRC is a list of people who can prove they came to the state by 24 March 1971, a day before Bangladesh declared independence. The new list that was published on Monday stated that out of 3,29,91,385 applicants 2,89,83,677 have been found eligible for inclusion. This means 40,07,708 people have been left out.

First published: 30 July 2018, 17:06 IST