West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said she was shocked to find out that one lakh people from the Gorkha community were excluded from the National Register of Citizens in Assam, and urged the Centre to ensure genuine Indians were not left out of the database of citzens.

On August 31, 19 lakh people were left out of the final list of the National Register of Citizens. Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress alleged hours later that the Centre was trying to drive out Bengalis from Assam in the name of the exercise.

Pointing out that she was not aware “of the full NRC fiasco”, Banerjee added: “In fact, names of thousands and thousands of genuine Indians, including those of CRPF and other jawans, family members of former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, have been excluded.” The Trinamool Congress president said the government must take care that “justice is meted out to all genuine Indian brothers and sisters”.

A number of other leaders, including All India Majlis-e-Ittahadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma have expressed unhappiness with the process but for different reasons.

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Owaisi criticised Union Home Minister Amit Shah, claiming he had earlier said there were “50 lakh infiltrators” in the Assam. “So were you lying or is the NRC true?” Owaisi asked Shah. Sarma, meanwhile, claimed the NRC had excluded the names of many Indians who had migrated from Bangladesh as refugees before 1971, which was the cut-off year to prove citizenship. The BJP leader called on the Supreme Court to allow re-verification of the names on the list.

West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh, meanwhile, has demanded that the NRC be implemented in the state too. “If the TMC government is not willing to bite the bullet, we will implement it and drive out Bangladeshi Muslims from the state after we come to power in 2021,” Ghosh said on Saturday.

Earlier this week, the Assam government said it would provide legal assistance to those left out of the NRC. Those who have not made it to the list will get 120 days to appeal against their exclusion at foreigners’ tribunals.

The NRC was first published in 1951 and is being updated to exclude those who may have illegally entered Assam via Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.

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Also read:

  1. Four things you’ve heard about NRC that aren’t strictly true
  2. What happens to more than 19 lakh people left out of the register?

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