West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has voiced her concern regarding 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”.
She angrily tore into the government over the Assam citizens’ list, warning that the move will lead to “civil war and bloodbath” . Her remark drew a sharp reaction from BJP chief Amit Shah, who said he was “stunned” and in a sharp political attack, questioned the opposition’s views on the rights of Indians.
“How will they live in Assam? Where will they get food, shelter, schools?” Ms Banerjee had said earlier today, referring to the 40 lakh people whose names have not appeared on the National Register of Citizens. “They (BJP) are trying to divide the people. The situation cannot be tolerated. There will be a civil war, bloodbath in the country,” said Ms Banerjee.
“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.
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.