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Assam settlers pin NRC hope on Didi

700 women from Cooch Behar and Alipurduar staying after marriage in Assam have been excluded from the NRC

By Main Uddin Chisti in Cooch Behar
  • Published 1.12.19, 1:35 AM
  • Updated 1.12.19, 1:35 AM
  • 2 mins read
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We will submit our appeal addressed to Mamata Banerjee and seek time said a woman who is from Assam’s Dhubri staying at her parents’ home in Bengal Telegraph file picture

Scores of women born in Bengal before they got married and settled in

Assam are banking on help from Mamata Banerjee to file appeals against their exclusion from the final National Register of Citizens in the neighbouring state.

After the final NRC was published in Assam, many such women have come to Cooch Behar district — staying at their parents’ or relatives’ homes, some even in rented accommodation — to collect documents so that they can prove their case before the Foreigners’ Tribunal.

“We were born in this state and are Indian citizens. But our names are not there in the final list. The Bengal chief minister is our only hope,” said 51-year-old Arati Gope, who is from Baxirhat of Cooch Behar near the Assam border.

At least 700 women from Cooch Behar and neighbouring Alipurduar staying after marriage in Assam have been excluded from the NRC, sources said.

“If we get an opportunity to meet her, we will tell her about our plight. We are apprehensive of getting locked up in detention camps. We have high hopes that she can help us by instructing officials to provide us with documents to prove our citizenship,” said Arati, who stays at Barapeta in Assam. Arati said the names of her daughter Luna and her husband are in the NRC but not her’s.

Laxmi Debnath, who is from Tufanganj but stays in Assam now, faces a similar predicament. “If we can meet Mamata Banerjee, we feel she can speak with the central government and with the government of Assam and can make some arrangements. We are counting days as the notice to appear before the Foreigners’ Tribunal can reach my place any time and then I will have to appear there,” Laxmi said.

Around 20 such women have decided to meet the SDO of Tufanganj on December 2.

“We will submit our appeal addressed to Mamata Banerjee and seek time. She had been vocal against NRC and said no one in Bengal will face any problem. We are depending more on her than the chief minister or other ministers of Assam who have not made any move so far to help those whose names are not there in the final NRC,” said another woman who is from Assam’s Dhubri staying at her parents’ home in Bengal to collect documents.

In north Bengal, the BJP bagged seven of eight parliamentary seats, including Cooch Behar and Alipurduar. After the NRC, BJP leaders are facing questions from the relatives of those who are from Bengal but stay in Assam. Trinamul has driven home the point that it is against NRC and ready to stand by people who are facing problems because of the exercise.

“Trinamul had campaigned on the NRC issue ahead of the Assembly bypolls last week. It could reap dividends while the issue backfired for the BJP. It is obvious that Trinamul will now try to revive its support in north Bengal by playing the same card,” said an observer.