West Bengal’s ‘Active’ governor does not meet Anti-NRC delegation

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Kolkata: At least 11 individuals have died allegedly by panic triggered by various statements, news, rumours among others being circulated about National Register for Citizens (NRC) in West Bengal. But, when a forum which held a march against NRC tried to give a memorandum to the newly appointed Governor, Jagdeep Dhankhar, neither did the governor meet the delegation nor spoke to them over the phone.

Earlier, thousands of Kolkatans marched all the way from Sealdah station to the Raj Bhavan on Friday telling they do not want NRC in West Bengal.

The protestors while chanting slogans like – NRCer Biruddhey Shongram Cholchey Chobey (Fight against implementation of NRC is on), Ei Manush Birodhi NRC Banglai Chai Na (Don’t want this anti-human NRC in Bengal) beating both the humidity and slight drizzle.

The rally commenced from Sealdah and walked down to Dharamtalla Bustand, where speakers spoke at length about NRC and why it shouldn’t be implemented to raise public awareness about the same. Following which a group of representatives reached the Governor’s residence with a memorandum, which was accepted by the officials present at Raj Bhavan, in the absence of the governor.

Adding to that Bose stated, “In the memorandum we have demanded that the process of nationwide NRIC be immediately stalled and all notifications to this effect, including the July 31, 2019, Union Home Ministry Notification regarding the preparation of the Population Register, be rescinded, as NPR is the first step for the implementation of NRIC.”

Speaking to eNewsroom, Prasenjit Bose, Kolkata-based social activist and economist said, “We had sought an appointment with the governor, but weren’t granted. So, we met the officials to hand over the memorandum in the absence of the governor.”

“The governor, when assumed office here, he had said he will be an active one, but we learnt a lesson today that if the memorandum will be against center, governor will not entertain it,” added Bose.

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The rally was the second step taken by the Joint Forum Against NRC, the first being an anti-NRC demonstration, which was staged in front of Kolkata’s Assam House on September 3. The forum had demanded a resolution against NRC by Bengal Assembly and a few days later, the assembly did pass a resolution against NRC.

A copy of the memorandum, which lies with eNewsroom, begins by stating, “You must be aware of the tragic deaths of over 11 persons across West Bengal during this month, mostly by committing suicides, because of the panic that has spread regarding the nationwide NRC/NRIC exercise initiated by the Union Home Ministry. Belligerent statements made by Union Ministers and MPs from the ruling party at the centre, regarding NRC implementation, are squarely responsible for the situation. On behalf of the Joint Forum against NRC — a common platform of mass organisations — we are seeking your urgent intervention to stall this draconian NRC exercise, which has caused widespread fear and anxiety across the state, especially among the Bengali refugees, Minorities, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.”

The memorandum, terming the procedure of identification and elimination of “Doubtful Citizens” from the Population Register, contained in the Citizenship Rules, 2003, as non-transparent, draconian and arbitrary stated, “We feel that (the) determination of citizenship through this flawed process will lead to widespread exclusions of the poor and vulnerable sections of society, subject them to victimisation and vitiate the social environment.

Adding to that Bose stated, “In the memorandum we have demanded that the process of nationwide NRIC be immediately stalled and all notifications to this effect, including the July 31, 2019, Union Home Ministry Notification regarding the preparation of the Population Register, be rescinded, as NPR is the first step for the implementation of NRIC.”

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