CAA saves Hindus from NRC screening, says Bengal BJP booklet; sets up row
A booklet circulated by the BJP aimed at clarifying doubts around the Citizenship Amendment Bill sparked a political firestorm on Monday after the Bengali version of the booklet underlined that it would shield people of the six religions - Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis - when the nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) is rolled out.
The 23-page booklet that was released by the Bengal BJP on Sunday has also declared that the government will implement the NRC project next. However, the party’s 30-page Hindi booklet on CAA, published by Kamal Sandesh from New Delhi and meant for distribution all over India, does not mention NRC.
The Bengali booklet is mostly a translation of the Hindi publication, except for the additional reference to NRC.
“After the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), no Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian or Parsi will find their name in the D-voter’ (doubtful voters) list. The Hindus and Sikhs have their homelands secured,” reads the final sentence of the Bengali booklet, which was released by Union minister Babul Supriyo on Sunday.
Dilip Ghosh, chief of the BJP’s West Bengal unit said this was a promise that had been made to the people of Bengal.
“We had promised the people of Bengal that we will clear the state of the infiltrators and we cannot go back on our promise. Whatever political controversy, of whatever magnitude the opposition may try to create, we cannot compromise on the question of national security,” Ghosh said.
The Bengal BJP’s effort to link the amended citizenship law that fast-tracks citizenship to religious minorities from three Muslim-majority countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh - runs contrary to the BJP leadership’s latest effort to project the change in citizenship law and the NRC project as two standalone exercises.
The Bengal BJP’s booklet triggered angry reactions from rival parties, right from the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress to the opposition Left parties and the Congress.
“This booklet exposes the sinister game that the BJP is playing with the people, especially those in Bengal. Why is NRC mentioned in the Bengali booklet only and not in the one being distributed nationally? BJP has proved itself to be anti-Bengali,” said Tapas Roy, the senior Trinamool Congress leader and the junior minister for parliamentary affairs.
“The prime minister is contradicting the union home minister Amit Shah and BJP’s state unit chief is contradicting the prime minister. BJP lies exposed,” said Sujan Chakraborty, leader of the Left in the state Assembly.
Congress’ state unit president Somen Mitra said that prime minister Narendra Modi should explain if he is speaking the truth or the BJP’s state unit.
In the last page of the Bengali booklet, a question reads, “Is NRC coming next? How necessary is this? Won’t Hindus, too, have to land in jails in case of an NRC, just like in Assam?” The answer says, “Yes, NRC comes next. At least that’s the intention of the Union government.”
“We must make it clear that no Hindu in Assam landed in detention centres because of NRC. The Hindus who are allegedly in detention camps had landed there much before due to the Foreigners Act. The Foreigners Act was created by Congress and the NRC was implemented under orders from and supervision of the Supreme Court. The Assam government, on the other hand, has decided to move the apex court against that NRC. Those detained in camps would hopefully get released soon due to CAA,” the booklet read.
“It is heard that there are two crore infiltrators living in West Bengal and Assam. It is necessary that they are turned into D-voters and driven away,” the booklet said.