West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday described the National Register of Citizens in Assam as an electoral gimmick and said she would not allow it to be implemented in West Bengal, according to The Indian Express.
“If one can’t produce proof of his or her date of birth then that person will be driven out in the name of NRC [National Register of Citizens],” she said while addressing a government event in Kolkata, according to Deccan Herald. “These are all electoral gimmick and there is no need to bother about it. As long as we are alive, such attempts will be futile.”
The Assam government had published the final draft of the National Register of Citizens on July 30, 2018. Around 40 lakh people did not find mention in the list out of 3.29 crore applicants. The stated aim of the counting exercise is to separate genuine Indian citizens from so-called illegal migrants who might be living in the state.
Banerjee said there were many people of her age who cannot produce their date of birth certificates. “Don’t try to label genuine citizens foreigners by asking for proof of their citizenship twice,” Banerjee said. “Citizenship is given only once and all of us are citizens of this country.”
According to the terms of the exercise, anyone who could not prove that they or their ancestors had entered the state before midnight on March 24, 1971, would be declared a foreigner. Those excluded will come under the purview of the Foreigners’ Tribunals and will have to prove their citizenship or face unlimited detention if they fail to do so.
The chief minister also alleged that privacy of people was being breached as phone calls of journalists, judges and common people were being recorded.