The All India Namasudra Bikash Parishad (AINBP), a Dalit group, will take out a ‘long march’ to Assam on September 23 to protest against the exclusion of Bengali Hindus from the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC). The organisation is expecting a gathering of about 20,000 to 25,000 people who will start the march from Kamakhyaguri in North Bengal and walk to Srirampur on the Assam border, about 20 km away.
“The central government had given assurance that no Hindus will suffer because of NRC. However we have learned that out of 40 lakh people who have been excluded from the list, 80 per cent are Bengali Hindus. A large number of these Hindus belonged to SC, ST and Dalit communities. We want to register our protest against this through the long march,” Mukul Chandra Bairagya, AINBP working president, told The Indian Express.
He said the group plans to reach Guwahati and interact with people who have been affected by NRC.
“If Assam police stop us at the border, then we will block National Highway-27 which connects the two states,” he added.
Members of the organisation met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee last month. “She gave us a patient hearing and expressed solidarity with our protest,” said Bairagya.
The outfit is also carrying out a campaign in North Bengal districts against the BJP. “The BJP leaders said Hindus will be branded as refugees. If that is so, how come such refugees are treated like this? They have been put behind bars as doubtful voters. The law does not allow refugees to be put behind bars. We are strongly condemning this,” said the AINBP working president.