Two-thirds of Bengalis excluded from Assam NRC are Hindus: Mamata Banerjee
Raising her pitch against the Centre on the NRC issue, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday claimed that of the around 66% of the Bengalis in Assam whose names do not figure in the draft are Hindus.
She also alleged that Assam government has kept over a thousand people in detention camps to prevent protests against the NRC.
“Out of 4 million names deleted from the NRC, 3.8 million are those of Bengali-speaking people. And out of this 3.8 million, 2.5 million are Hindus. The rest 1.3 million are Bengali-speaking Muslims,” Banerjee told the media after meeting members of some NGOs who recently visited Assam to conduct a field study.
Citing some examples, she said names of some people were deleted although they appeared on voters’ list way back in 1965 and 1966. “Even family members of a freedom fighter have been excluded. Are they infiltrators?” the chief minister said without taking any name.
“I came to know that around 1,200 people have been kept in detention camps because they protested. Even some children have been kept in detention camps. The media is not being allowed to operate. Our delegation was stopped from interacting with the people. Propaganda is being orchestrated by putting pressure on local television channels,” Banerjee alleged.
Assamese people have been asked to provide birth certificates of their parents, she said, hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Earlier, only one percent of the country’s population, which comprised educated people and elite families maintained birth records. I do not have birth certificates of my parents. Does BJP’s president Amit Shah have the original birth certificates of his parents?” she asked.
“I doubt if even Gandhiji had birth certificates of his parents,” she quipped.
Banerjee challenged the BJP to prepare NRC in Bengal if it ever came to power in the state. “One should not hope to win the hearts of Bengalis with repression,” she said.
Rubbishing Banerjee’s allegations, BJP’s Bengal general secretary Sayantan Basu said she has been unnecessarily politicising the NRC issue from the very beginning. “Not a single protest has been staged in Assam till now. But out here, she is shouting from day one because infiltrators from Bangladesh constitute her principal vote bank,” he said.