Assam groups hit out at Mamata

Bengal CM's NRC 'plot' raises hackles

Mamata Banerjee

Guwahati: Organisations in Assam slammed Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday for purportedly saying that the ongoing update of the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC) was a "conspiracy" to expel Bengalis from the state.

The Trinamul chief is said to have made the remark at a public rally in Bengal's Birbhum district while warning the ruling BJP that she would not keep quiet if Bengalis were victimised.

The ruling BJP in Assam said Mamata was either "ignorant" about the rules governing the NRC exercise or the statement was made deliberately to gain political mileage.

"The statement is intended to make her Bangladeshi vote bank strong. She is scared that if such an exercise is carried out in Bengal, her vote bank will be destroyed," Assam BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said.

AASU general secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said, "There is no question of expelling Bengalis or Hindi-speaking people. It is an exercise to expel Bangladeshis illegally living in Assam. She (Mamata) is making such a statement for political reason. We hope the apex court will take action against her. How can she question a Supreme Court-monitored exercise?" he asked.

Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia said, "Banerjee may not be aware that the entire NRC update is being monitored by the Supreme Court, otherwise she would not have made such a comment."

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal could not be contacted but press adviser to the chief minister, Hrishikesh Goswami, told The Telegraph that Mamata could move the apex court if something was amiss. "Our government has never discriminated against anybody on the basis of language and religion. Our chief minister, in every public meeting, talks about unity among all sections, of strengthening ties between the Brahmaputra and Barak Valleys," he said.

Barak Valley is dominated by Bengali-speaking people.

FIR filed

In another development, the All Assam Goriya Moriya Yuva Chatra Parishad lodged an FIR at Latasil police station in Guwahati against BJP legislator Shiladitya Dev for his allegedly "objectionable and communal" statement on the NRC.

Latasil police have registered a case under Section 295 (A) (outraging religious sentiments) of the IPC.

The KMSS demanded Dev's arrest. "If the BJP government does not arrest him, it will be clear that the BJP and the RSS have hatched a conspiracy to disturb the NRC update," it said in a statement.

Dev could not be contacted.


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