Kolkata: BJP will introduce and pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) before compiling a National Registry of Citizens (NRC) said Home Minister Amit Shah today.
Addressing his first meet in West Bengal since the Lok Sabha elections the Home minister in Kolkata said people are being harassed in the name of NRC, HT reports.
“CAB will precede NRC; so refugees need not worry,” he said dwelling on the issue that threatens to become the central one in the next assembly elections in 2021.
The BJP led NDA government attempted to pass the CAB bill that guarantees citizenship to all non-Muslim refugees in India that have come from neighbouring countries but could not do so.
He said: “People are being harassed in the name of NRC. I have come here to clear the confusion. Mamata Banerjee’s contention that Hindu refugees would be driven out is absolutely false. No refuge will have to leave India.”
“No infiltrator would be able to live in India and no refugee will have to leave India,” he said.
“I today want to assure Hindu,Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian refugees, you will not be forced to leave India by the Centre. Don’t believe rumours,” he is quoted as saying.
The Union home minister’s statement comes at a time when panic over the citizenship exercise has gripped large parts of West Bengal and the threat continues to exist to all Muslims across the nation who will not be treated as refugees.
Responding to Amit Shah, Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra alleged that the Union home minister has spread panic in the middle of the festive season in the state.
“I am myself in a state of panic. Which document would I furnish? I hail from Jessore, which was East Pakistan and has now become part of Bangladesh. So, I shall also be thrown out. I can be put in jail. Jails are being built in Assam and jails will also be built here,” Mitra said.
Assam’s NRC has left out 1.9 million in the state which was mandated by Supreme Court.
Questioning the very basis of the proposed CAB by the NDA government, Mitra asked, “Will the Constitution allow including some and excluding others on the basis of religion?”
Taking a dig at the home minister for his statement, he said: “Please come to Bengal to enjoy the warmth of Durga Puja. But please don’t spread divisiveness.”
“As many as 19 persons have committed suicide due to panic over NRC. We have said ‘no’ to NRC. Amit Shah has become the symbol of NRC,” remarked CPI(M) member Md Salim.
Addressing his meeting, Shah also vowed that the TMC government will be dislodged in the next assembly elections.
“You have expressed your wish for a change by giving us 18 seats. This will now be realised under Modi’s leadership. We will form the government [in Bengal] with absolute majority,” said Shah.