Bharatiya Janata Party’s West Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh on Wednesday claimed that people were being bribed to allege that some deaths in the state were related to the National Register of Citizens, ANI reported. Eight people have died so far amid growing panic over gathering relevant documents to prove citizenship in the state.

“There is no need for anyone to get scared,” Ghosh said on Wednesday. “We have brought Citizenship Amendment Bill, which grants citizenship to all Indians. Bribes worth Rs 2 lakh is being given to prove that people are committing suicide because of NRC.” The BJP leader, however, did not specify who was behind it.

BJP leaders, including party chief Amit Shah, have time and again promised to replicate Assam’s NRC exercise in West Bengal if the party is voted to power. More than 19 lakh people were left out of the final list of the citizens’ database in the northeastern state last month.

The BJP leader added that every death after demonetisation, even if it was accidental or due to a natural disaster, was attributed to the Centre’s decision to scrap the old notes. “Now even if someone dies of dengue then it is linked with NRC,” he told ANI in Siliguri. “When there is no issue of NRC in Bengal, which is also accepted by Mamata herself, then why is there so much talk of deaths due to NRC.”

The Trinamool Congress was trying to bring back the leaders who had defected to the BJP and was therefore creating fear, Ghosh claimed. He said Hindus need not fear even if their names were not there on the register. “NRC is for only those Muslims, who have or are coming to India from Bangladesh and other nations,” ANI quoted the leader as saying.

Ghosh accused the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress of causing fear among people over the implementation of the exercise, Bengali daily Ei Samay reported on Tuesday. “Have we gone out on the streets to demand NRC?” Ghosh had asked. “The chief minister [Mamata Banerjee] has made NRC an issue for Bengal. Under Supreme Court’s orders, the exercise was carried out in Assam and therefore the BJP-led government in the state followed the directive.”

Every locality in Bengal was conducting meetings under Banerjee’s instructions, the BJP leader claimed. Ghosh added that if anyone died due to increased panic over NRC, it would be the chief minister’s responsibility.

Several municipal corporations across the state have witnessed a sudden increase in demand for birth certificates. The civic body in Kolkata, which usually issues around 100 birth certificates daily, is now receiving over 250 applications every day.

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