Kolkata, Oct 1 (IANS) Accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of ‘misleading’ the people on NRC, Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah on Tuesday asserted that all Hindu refugees, as also Sikhs, Christians, Jains and Buddhists, will be given permanent citizenship by passing the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) before undertaking any National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise.
Shah, addressing a convention on NRC at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here, also made it clear that all infiltrators will be identified and forced to leave the country.
Coming down heavily on Banerjee, Shah said the Trinamool Congress supremo was siding with infiltrators as they were her “vote bank”, whereas in the past she wanted them to be thrown out as they then voted for the Communists (the CPI-M led Left Front that ruled the state from 1977-2011) when she was the opposition leader.
“In Bengal, people are being misled on NRC. I would like to present the truth from this platform. Mamata di says in case there is an NRC exercise, lakhs of Hindu refugees will have to leave Bengal. There cannot be a bigger lie.
“I want to assure the people of Bengal publicly that not a single refugee — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians, especially the Hindus as they are a big majority among them — will be forced by the government of India to leave the country,” said Shah, whose comments came in the backdrop of the panic seen recently across West Bengal about a possible NRC exercise in the state.
Amid fears that people may be rendered homeless like the 1.9 million people who could not make it to the final NRC list in Assam, the past few days have seen overnight queues before government offices, post offices and banks with people making a mad rush to procure and rectify documents which they feel would help them see through any future NRC project in the state.
At least 11 people have died — some of them taking their own lives out of panic and depression at not having, what they thought, the right documents.
Banerjee has seized on the issue, and is almost on a daily basis referring to it as a BJP propaganda that has “made people panicky”. She and other Trinamool leaders are also losing no opportunity to point out that over 12 lakh people who have been left out of the NRC in Assam are Hindus.
The BJP president said the “lies were being spread” to “incite” the refugees in Bengal, and made an appeal that none should “make fun of such a sensitive issue”.
“Don’t make fun of those who have come here after being duped, or after enduring torture or atrocities. Their sighs will sink you,” he said.
The Home Minister said the Narendra Modi-led government will first introduce and pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in the Parliament, bestowing citizenship on all refugees. “After that you will have the same rights on the soil of India like me”.
Taking a dig at the Trinamool, Shah said “now they are ‘shedding crocodile tears’, but when the NDA government introduced the CAB in the Rajya Sabha, they stalled the House and did not allow the legislation to pass.”
“Trinamool is solely responsible for refugees not getting citizenship till now,” he said.
“But now the situation is completely different. Regardless of the extent of opposition from the Trinamool, the CAB will be passed and all refugees will become proud Indian citizens,” Shah said.
Ridiculing Banerjee for claiming that she won’t allow any NRC exercise in Bengal, Shah said that no country can progress by bearing the burden of infiltrators.
“This story must end… We will find them out, and drive them out. We’ve to do this for the sake of the country’s security. If we can’t do this, then for long years we have to suffer in terms of national security.
“Just as no refugee will have to go, no infiltrator will be allowed to remain on the soil of India — these two are settled facts,” he said.
Attacking the Trinamool, he said political interests cannot get precedence over the country’s or Bengal’s wellbeing. “We also run a political party, but when it comes to the interest of the country, we never think of BJP’s interests, but only consider India’s interests,” he said.
With “folded hands”, Shah requested all BJP functionaries to go from door to door in Bengal and assure all “refugee brothers and sisters that nobody is going to drive them out.”
“Tell them that you are going to stay here with all dignity as an Indian citizen, enjoying all the rights that fellow Indians enjoy,” he said.