Asserting that “not a single person” will be driven out of West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that all those who came from Bangladesh and have been casting votes in elections are Indian citizens and need not apply for citizenship afresh. Slamming the BJP government at the Centre for its handling of the communal riots in Delhi that have claimed over 47 lives so far, Mamata Banerjee said that she will not allow West Bengal to turn into another Delhi.
“Those who have come from Bangladesh are citizens of India. Some had come after 1948, some after the ‘Muktiyuddha’ (the Liberation War of Bangladesh) in 1971… They have got citizenship. You don’t need to apply for citizenship again. You have been casting your votes in elections, electing PM and CM, Assembly, Zila Parishad… Now, they are saying that you are not citizens. Don’t believe them. You all are bonafide citizens of this country,” she said at a public meeting in Kaliaganj in Dakshin Dinajpur district, bordering Bangladesh.
“You have an address, ration card, voter card, driving licence. There is no need to get this new card of the BJP. Don’t worry, you will always find this Didi besides you. Your family is my family. I will not let anybody take away the rights of our people,” she said.
The Trinamool Congress chief said that her government was doing everything for the development of backward sections like Rajbongshi, Kurmi, Kujur and Urdu Alichiki, and accused the BJP government of Assam of excluding a large number of genuine Bengali, Rajbongshi, and Muslim citizens from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that seeks to weed out infiltrators, particularly from Bangladesh.
She once again reiterated that her government will never allow NRC and NPR in the state. “Do not worry. Do not panic. No one can touch the people of Bengal. If anyone comes knocking at your door seeking documents or information, just tell them on their face that you have a voter ID card and it is enough,” she added.
Hitting out at the BJP government at the Centre over the Delhi riots, the TMC chief said, “Don’t forget this is Bengal. What happened in Delhi will never be allowed to happen here. We do not want Bengal to turn into another Delhi or another Uttar Pradesh.”
She also urged people to stay “watchful and not allow any outsider to stoke riots here”.
On Monday, she had termed the Delhi riots a “state-sponsored and planned genocide”, and accused the BJP of replicating the “Gujarat model” across the country. “This was not a riot (in Delhi). Many told me, this was a planned genocide.
It’s a planned genocide. Later, it was projected as a riot… Yesterday, four bodies were found. Every day, drains are opened and hidden bodies are recovered. How did this happen? We have only police under us. The Central government in Delhi has Delhi Police, CRPF, CISF, Army under it… But nobody did anything, everybody was inactive. Why I am calling it a genocide? Because it was state-sponsored. Police just stood and watched. One policeman, one IB personnel also lost their lives. We are sad for their deaths,” Mamata had said in Kolkata and demanded an apology from Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
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