Accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of “misleading” the state on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah said Tuesday that the Centre will bring in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill before implementing the NRC to identify and deport “each and every infiltrator”.
Addressing BJP workers at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, Shah said “ Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian” refugees will not be forced to leave India.
“Here, TMC is misleading people about the NRC. Mamata Banerjee is saying that lakhs of Hindu refugees will be thrown out of the country. I have come here to assure all my refugee brothers that there is no need to worry as the central government will not force them out,” Shah said, on his first visit to the state after the Lok Sabha polls.
“I want to assure all Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian refugees that you will not be forced to leave India. Don’t believe rumours. Before NRC, we will bring the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which will ensure these people get Indian citizenship. They will enjoy all the rights of an Indian citizen.”
Shah also targeted Banerjee and the TMC. “Mamata Didi is saying there will be no NRC in Bengal. But we will identify each and every infiltrator and drive them out. When Mamata Banerjee was in the Opposition, she had demanded that such infiltrators be driven out. She had thrown her shawl on the Speaker’s face on this same issue,” he said.
“Now since those infiltrators have become her vote bank, she does not want them removed. I want to remind Mamata didi of her speech on August 4 in 2005 when she spoke of ousting such intruders. But political ambitions should not prevail over national priorities.”
He asked all party workers to reach out to the people of Bengal and educate them about the CAB.
Over the last few weeks, the TMC has protested against the NRC, with Banerjee, who met Shah in Delhi over the matter, attempting to build public opinion against the citizenship exercise.
Banerjee had also claimed that panic triggered by rumours of an NRC exercise in West Bengal had claimed 11 lives in the state. In several districts, people were seen standing in queues outside government and local municipality offices to get their birth certificates and other related documents.
During his speech, Shah also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s dream by scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Shah said Mookerjee was martyred in Kashmir and after 73 years, the Prime Minister has fulfilled his dream.
After Shah’s remarks, Banerjee, without naming anyone, said people are welcome in Bengal to enjoy Durga puja but should not divide people, while the TMC said it was unconstitutional to divide people on the basis of religion.
“Here people belonging to all religions participate in Durga puja in a harmonious manner. This festival is for all. I tell everyone to come to Bengal and enjoy the puja. We will play the role of a perfect host. This puja is for all and does not restrict anyone,” Banerjee said while inaugurating a puja in Kolkata.