West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday warned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) not to play with fire in the name of National Register of Citizens (NRC) and iterated that she would never allow the exercise in the state. The Trinamool Congress chief, who took out massive a rally against the NRC, challenged BJP leaders to touch even one citizen of West Bengal in the name of the NRC.
“We will never allow NRC in Bengal. We will not allow them to divide the people on religious and caste lines. We will not accept the NRC in Assam. They have silenced the people of Assam by using the police and the administration but they cannot silence Bengal,” she said while addressing an anti-NRC rally.
The NRC seems to be the latest flashpoint between the Trinamool and the BJP in West Bengal, with the ruling party opposing it and the saffron party advocating it to throw out infiltrators.
Banerjee, who has been openly criticising the NRC in Assam, said, “Over 19 lakh people are left out in the final list of NRC in Assam which includes Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. What more proof of identity do you need even after 70 years of Independence? Why do we need to give them our proof of identity?”
She also criticised the decision of merger of banks by the BJP-led government at the Centre.
The rally was organised days after the Trinamool along with Congress and Left Front passed a resolution in West Bengal Assembly opposing the NRC. The party had also taken out rallies in other parts of the state to oppose the exercise to update citizenship register on September 7 and 8.
Over 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam did not find a place in the final NRC, which was published on August 31.
Meanwhile, West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh on Thursday slammed Banerjee for opposing the NRC and claimed that Trinamool-government led by her is protecting more than one crore Rohingyas and Bangladeshi Muslims.
“In the last few years, around two crore Rohingya and Bangaldeshi Muslims have entered the state illegally. Of that, one crore have moved to other parts of the country and the rest resides in Bengal under Trinamool government’s protection. They have to be thrown out from Bengal and the BJP will do it. Sooner or later, NRC will be implemented in Bengal and Banerjee will witness it,” Ghosh said.