Continuing her offensive against the Narendra Modi government over the recently-published Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the saffron party of being “anti-Bengalis”.
Taking a jibe at the BJP, Mamata asked if hilsa fish, Jamdani saree, sandesh and mishti doi, which are originally from Bangladesh, would also be branded as “infiltrators or refugees”.
Questioning the criteria on which over 40 lakh names have been excluded from the second NRC draft list, the Trinamool Congress chief said they are “very much Indians”.
Banerjee said that even she would not be able to produce the birth certificate of her parents if the government asks for it.
“Do not know my parents’ birth dates. I only know the dates of their death. I would not be able to provide any documents for their date of birth but there should be a clear system about such cases…You cannot blame the layman,” she told reporters at her chamber in the state assembly.
Banerjee has been attacking the BJP government at the Centre over National Register for Citizens (NRC) which has excluded names of over 40 lakh citizens in the final draft for want of necessary documents in Assam.
“What is going on in the country is injustice. The BJP with their extremist ideology is trying to create division among the people. I think they are playing the politics of revenge among the countrymen. We are not for this kind of politics,” she said.
She accused the BJP of being “anti-Bengalis” and “anti-West Bengal”.
“They (the BJP) must not forget that speaking Bengali is not a crime. It is the fifth most spoken language in the world. What is BJP’s problem with (West) Bengal. Are they scared of the intellect of the Bengalis, their culture. They must not forget that (West) Bengal is the cultural mecca of the country,” she said.
The TMC chief said “the culture practised by them does not have any respect for people speaking Hindi, Bengali, Maratha and the South Indian (languages)”.
Days ago, Mamata had accused the BJP government or resorting to “dive and rule” politics and had even warned that the Assam NRC issue could lead to “bloodbath” and “civil war” across the country.
The second NRC draft list was released on July 30 that included the names of 2.89 crore people out of 3.29 crore applicants in Assam. However, nearly four million people were missing from the list, which triggered panic among those excluded.
Clarifying on the same, the Centre had assured that no Indian citizen would be left out, and those excluded would be given all possible opportunities to get their concerns addressed, as per the due process.
In an exclusive interview to news agency ANI last week, PM Modi assured that “no citizen of India will have to leave the country”, adding that NRC is a “promise of ours” and it was his government’s duty to honour “the mandate” they have got for it.
(With PTI inputs)