West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday reiterated that her party Trinamool Congress would never allow the National Register of Citizens exercise to be implemented in the state, PTI reported. Banerjee said every resident of the state was an Indian.
“We will not allow any division among the people of the state,” she said at an event in Mallaguri locality of the city of Siliguri. “Do not be worried. Be rest assured we are your custodians.”
The chief minister said people in the state had earned the right to be called Indians because of the role of Bengalis in the freedom struggle and the Bengal renaissance. Banerjee said this right was given to the people of West Bengal by patriots such as Raja Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, and others who had laid down their lives for India’s Independence.
The NRC exercise in Assam caused a lot of chaos. More than 19 lakh people were left out of the final list of the updated citizens’ database that was published on August 31. The number of people left out comprise around 6% of Assam’s entire population. They will now have to appeal against the decision in foreigners’ tribunals.
Banerjee urged young voters who have turned 18 to immediately enroll in the voters’ list, adding that voting was a democratic right. “Remember that our government was, is, and will continue to run the state,” News18 quoted her as saying. The chief minister claimed she was unable to leave Kolkata during Durga Puja to ensure the safety of people.
Banerjee, who is a vocal critic of the NRC exercise, had raised the matter at a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah last month. In October, the home minister said the Centre would implement NRC in West Bengal, adding that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill would be passed first to provide citizenship to all Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist refugees.
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