Will give Hindu refugees citizenship, expel infiltrators, says Amit Shah in Bengal
On his first visit to Bengal after the national elections, Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of trying to spread panic over the proposed National Register for Citizens, or NRC, and declared that Hindu, Sikh and Jain refugees in the state or elsewhere would not be forced out of the country due to the citizens’ list.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party government will not force a single (non-muslim) refugee to leave the country,” Shah said at an event called the NRC-Jagran Abhiyan in state capital Kolkata.
“Mamata is telling people of Bengal that lakhs of Hindu refugees (from Bangladesh) would be thrown out if NRC happens. There cannot be a bigger lie…. And I have come here today to make it clear that this will not happen,” Shah said.
Watch | ‘We will not allow a single illegal immigrant in India’: Amit Shah on NRC
He reminded people that the BJP-led national coalition at the Centre had already moved a bill in Rajya Sabha back in 2016 to give citizenship to minority communities from neighbouring countries. That version of the bill could never be passed, he said, because Trinamool Congress MPs disrupted proceedings.
Before NRC, the Narendra Modi government is going to bring in this bill that will entitle refugees to Indian citizenship. ‘You will have the same rights as any of us,” he said.
“Not one refugee will have to leave. And we will not allow even one infiltrator to stay back,” he said, accusing Mamata Banerjee of trying to “shield infiltrators” because they vote for her.
“We will not let any infiltrator stay here. We will identify and throw them out,” he said, recalling that Mamata Banerjee had opposed infiltration when they used to support the Left front government.
Amit Shah’s explanation about the government’s plan comes against the backdrop of a spirited opposition to the citizens’ register by Mamata Banerjee. The chief minister has also attacked the Centre’s push for the register, holding it responsible for spreading panic among people over the last few weeks.
In many of Bengal’s border districts, people have been queuing up at government offices to get their identification papers in case the Centre is able to push through a population register. Mamata Banerjee has ruled out such an eventuality. But people do not want to take a chance.
Apart from a meeting with party leaders, Amit Shah is also going to inaugurate a Durga Puja pandal later on Tuesday. At the NRC public awakening campaign meet, he predicted that the BJP would be able to form the government is next state elections. His party had won 18 of West Bengal’s 42 Lok sabha seats.