Kolkata: Launching a fresh tirade against the Centre on the issue of NRC in Assam, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed on Tuesday that those who did not make it to the final draft of the citizens’ register are being sent to detention camps.
She also said those who have been staying in the country for years were “branded as infiltrators” and accused the BJP of carrying out the exercise with an eye on the Lok Sabha election. “Around 1,200 people, including children and women, have been sent to detention camps,” she told reporters at the state secretariat. Of the 40.07 lakh people who did not find a place in the complete draft that was released on July 30, 25 lakh were Bengali Hindus and 13 lakh Bengali Muslims, she claimed.
The remaining 2 lakh are Biharis, Marwaris and Nepalis, Banerjee said. The chief minister also met a team of 22 representatives of the United Bengali Forum from Assam at the secretariat here. Brandishing few voter cards, she claimed the identity proofs belonged to people born between 1962 and 1965. “Are these people genuine citizens or infiltrators,” she asked. Banerjee said she was fortunate enough to have been born in West Bengal, else “I, too, would have been dubbed as an infiltrator.” “They (BJP) are carrying out the NRC process with an eye on the elections. Sometimes, they also raise the bogey of Indo-Pak or Indo-China conflict,” she said.
Banerjee also wondered whether the popular ‘hilsa’ fish and the sweet ‘sandesh’ from Bangladesh will also be branded as “refugees or infiltrators”. Asked about BJP chief Amit Shah’s recent statement about starting a similar process in West Bengal, Banerjee said, “They (BJP) are anti-Bengali.” The BJP is looking at a presidential form of government but “they will lose everywhere”, she claimed. “If everything is fine in Assam, as claimed by the government there, why were 400 companies of central forces deployed in the state? Are media persons allowed to move freely in Assam,” she asked.
Shah had stated at a public rally on Saturday that Banerjee was opposing National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam because she wanted to indulge in “vote-bank politics” by wooing the infiltrators. He had called upon the people of the state to uproot the TMC government as it “patronised infiltration from Bangladesh”.