New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday started a protest march along with her party colleagues and supporters in north Kolkata against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam that excluded over 19 lakh people in its final list.
Banerjee along with Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers began their rally at around 3 PM from Sinthee More in the northern part of Kolkata that will culminate at the Shyambazar five-point crossing.
Hitting out at the Centre, she asked, “It has been 76 yrs since independence, still, we’ve to give proof of our identity. Why?”
“You won’t be able to shut Bengal’s mouth as you did in Assam by using your police. Suddenly, you are teaching us religion as if we don’t celebrate Eid, Durga Puja, Muharram & Chhath Puja,” she said and added that it is for the sake of all religions, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christian that she stands opposed to NRC.
The protest comes after the West Bengal Assembly had passed a resolution against the citizen list in the state. The resolution was jointly moved by the ruling Trinamool Congress, Left Front and the Congress to prevent the implementation of NRC in West Bengal.
Calling the updated list a ‘fiasco’, West Bengal supremo Banerjee had strongly opposed the idea of NRC maintaining her view that it is “nothing but political vendetta” of the Modi-led central government.
“My heart goes out to all those, especially the large number of Bengali speaking brothers and sisters, who are made to suffer because of this botched-up process,” she had said condemning the NRC final list that was published at the end of last month.
The BJP in West Bengal had staged a protest after the state Assembly’s resolution and called the move “double standards” of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “In 2005, Mamata Banerjee had accused the Left that they are supporting Bangladeshi infiltration which is changing the state’s demography. She had torn the papers and thrown it at the speaker. Now, she is protesting against the NRC. This nothing but her double standards,” Manoj Tigga, Leader of BJP Legislative Party, had said.
On the morning of August 31, the final list of NRC was released ending six years of speculation over the mammoth exercise involving 52,000 state government officials working on it for identifying illegal foreigners living in Assam.
Nearly 19,06,657 people have been left out of the list which names 3,11,21,004 people as Indian citizens.