Mr Shah, listen to what Bengal has to say to your statement

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Kolkata: Just ahead of inaugurating Durga Puja pandals, Union Home Minister, Amit Shah while addressing BJP workers during a seminar on National Register for Citizenship (NRC) clarified that Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Christian refugees need not panic, as the Centre would not force them to leave India. During his speech, he even mentioned that NRC is a must for Bengal and would be implemented here after the enactment of CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill), which aims at restoring the “lost dignity” of Hindu refugees and the Mathua Community. He further accused the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of misleading the common man regarding NRC in Bengal.

Soon after the union home minister’s speech was over, his statement was widely criticized by the political leaders and social activist who are leading a movement against NRC in Bengal since the final NRC list was released in Assam.

Professor Saugata Roy, said, “It’s very unfortunate that the Home Minister of India has made such a discriminatory statement. I think the general public should also vehemently resist Amit Shah’s extremely communal statement.” He paused and then added, “They have an absolute majority of 303 in the Parliament, I guess, that is what is making them think that they can do anything like the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir.”

Public should Resist Amit Shah’s Communal Comment 

Minutes after Shah took TMC leaders accused him of scaremongering in Bengal. Speaking to eNewsroom, TMC MP from Dum Dum, Professor Saugata Roy, said, “It’s very unfortunate that the Home Minister of India has made such a discriminatory statement. I think the general public should also vehemently resist Amit Shah’s extremely communal statement.” He paused and then added, “They have an absolute majority of 303 in the Parliament, I guess, that is what is making them think that they can do anything like the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir.”

On being reminded about the absolute majority that BJP has, the CPIM leader said, “We can’t deny that. Hence, I have been extensively campaigning in Bengal, asking people to completely boycott NRC, if they forcefully implement it in Bengal. Let us all not go to the camps and tribunals to prove our citizenship, and then let us see what they can do?”

Prof Roy, who has also been one of the members for the Standing Committee on Bill to Amend Citizenship Act said, “I have never heard of any politician making such a comment. If we are to believe what he says, then are we to believe that the government is scheming against its own people?”

Most of the stalwarts of Bengal politics, branded the Amit Shah’s statement as both derogatory and discriminatory.

Boycott NRC

Branding NRC as anti-Constitution, former mayor of Kolkata and CPI(M) leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said, “First let me make it very clear, NRC is not needed in Bengal. We don’t want it. He (Amit Shah) may keep stressing upon its need and can even talking of passing the CAB. But let be very clear, this Bill is unconstitutional. We will resist NRC implementation in Bengal at any cost.”

Bhattacharya further said, “That they might be having, but we have an absolute majority here in Bengal, when it comes to the number of people resisting this divisive policy.” He pointed out, “He is coming here and demanding for NRC in Bengal, when his own party members are not willing to accept the NRC list in Assam. Given the way the NRC implementation of NRC has backfired in Assam, can he now go and tell the same in Assam?”

On being reminded about the absolute majority that BJP has, the CPIM leader said, “We can’t deny that. Hence, I have been extensively campaigning in Bengal, asking people to completely boycott NRC, if they forcefully implement it in Bengal. Let us all not go to the camps and tribunals to prove our citizenship, and then let us see what they can do?”

NRC Not Needed in Bengal

Reiterating the same sentiment, Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharya, also a member of the standing committee on Bill to amend Citizenship Act, 1955, while speaking to eNewsroom said, “Let us understand that there is political reason behind what is being told to mislead the common man. Assam had NRC implemented, as the people of Assam wanted it to be implemented. But here, we Bengalis don’t want this exercise to be done. In fact, a resolution has been passed in the state assembly against NRC.”

He then added, “This act (CAB) is unconstitutional and violates Article 14 of the constitution. They can’t say that one particular community will be deprived of citizenship, while others will not be asked to leave the country.”

Echoing the same, Prasenjit Bose, Kolkata-based economist and social activist, who is also leading a forum against NRC, said, “CAB shouldn’t be enacted at all. It is unconstitutional. But if it is passed, given the fact that BJP enjoys absolute majority, we will have it challenged at the Supreme Court.”

Will CAB Help?

Bhattacharya, then warned, the BJP workers and supporters in favour of NRC, “Let me play the devil’s advocate here, “We all have seen how NRC has backfired in Assam over 11 lakh Hindus have been affected by it. Also, let me be clear, the original East Bengal refugees are now in their seventies, and a sizeable number of people belonging to this generation are dead. Their children in many cases have no or little documented evidences. What will they do if NRC is implemented? Tribunals will understand only documented evidence.”

Adding to that Prof Roy said, “They are saying that after implementation of CAB, NRC will be implemented in Bengal. It’s high time that their vote-bank understand that CAB is no guarantee for citizenship. Even after enactment, it will take years to be implemented, till then all of them will be in a limbo.”

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