Kolkata: Like Assam, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), wants to have a National Register of Citizens (NRC) system in Bengal too. Senior BJP leader Mohit Roy told eNewsroom that state BJP will demand National Register of Citizens (NRC) to be implemented in Bengal. “A significant number of Bangladeshis are here in Bengal, who even has voting rights. We need to find these illegal immigrants. NRC would be the best way out,” claimed Roy, who is also a consultant environmentalist.
However, what Roy is claiming about NRC updation, a system to weed out illegal immigrants, is not going down well for so many people not only in Assam but also in Bengal. The Chief Minister of Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, on Wednesday accused the BJP-led central government of “hatching a conspiracy” to drive out Bengalis from Assam by “excluding” their names from the list of the NRC. “People have gone there for work and some of them have made Assam their home. In the name of NRC, they are planning to drive Bengalis out of the state,” said Banerjee. The first draft of NRC has listed only 1.9 million people out of 3.29 million applicants as legal Indian citizens.
And to register their protest strongly, on Thursday, Member of Parliament (MP)s from Trinamool Congress held protest over NRC issue outside Parliament House.
And in Assam, according to sources, Bengali residents of Subhas Pally, Dhubri or Silchar are feeling the heat as the first draft list of NRC that was published at the stroke of midnight of December 31. Many are feeling helpless and insecure as their names have not been listed in the draft. At present, NRC of 1951 is being updated in Assam under the supervision of the Supreme Court to identify original residents of the state in order to check illegal migration from neighbouring country.
But, observers feel that under the garb of weeding out illegal immigrants, names of Indian citizens who have provided all valid documents have not been listed whereas top ULFA rebel leader Paresh Baruah’s name made it to the first draft. While names of many prominent personalities have been left out.
Pradeep Saha, and his family have been living in Subhas Pally for four generations now, but he informed, “Our names are not in the first list despite furnishing all required documents.” His wife Arpita said that many families are in the same boast as they are in. “In some families, out of five family members only two names have made it to the draft list,” claimed Arpita.
Another Bengali resident of Subhas Palli, Malati Kar, speaking to eNewsroom said, “We had provided all the documents including the documents of NRC of 1951 of my father-in-law and my husband. Still, my husband’s name is missing from the list.”
Districts like Dhubri and Silchar (headquarters of Cachar district) of Assam has nearly 100 per cent Bengali population. But only 29.83 per cent of their population have made it to the list. Speaking of Cachar district, which comprises of three villages, only 35 per cent of its NRC applicants have been listed. Here too, a majority of the population are Bengalis, who claim to have migrated to the region during the British regime, when India had not been partitioned.
Significantly, the name of former vice-chancellor of Assam University Tapodhir Bhattacharjee, whose family has been living in Silchar from 1930s, has also not made it to the first draft of NRC. “My father Tarapada Bhattacharjee was an elected MLA in 1962 and we have been living here since 30’s. We neither entered India as traffickers or as immigrants. We are not refugees. We are simple residents India, who chose to make Silchar our home, at a time when Bengal had not been partitioned. We have been branded as Bangladeshis, as we speak Bangla,” Bhattacharjee told eNewsroom.