West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday took out a rally in Kolkata against the National Register of Citizens or NRC in Assam that excluded 19 lakh people last month. After the rally, the Trinamool Congress chief said she would never allow the centre to conduct a similar exercise in her state.
"We will never allow NRC in Bengal. We will not allow them to divide the people on religious and caste lines. We will not accept the NRC in Assam," she was quoted by news agency PTI as saying at the rally.
"They have silenced the people of Assam by using the police and the administration but they cannot silence Bengal," she added.
The final version of the list was published on August 31, leaving out over 19 lakh people who will have to prove their citizenship before foreigners' tribunals. The centre has promised that they will not be considered foreigners until they have exhausted their legal options.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah last week hinted that after Assam, the government's plan to locate and weed out illegal immigrants will be taken across the country.
"Assam thinks NRC was wrong, smaller states felt there would be a spill over. Let me assure, not only Assam, we want the entire country to be cleansed of illegal migrants. We already have a plan ready. We will bring all states into confidence," Mr Shah said during his two-day visit to the northeast.
During the national election, Mr Shah had promised to conduct an NRC exercise in West Bengal.
Meanwhile, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said on Thursday that over a crore illegal immigrants were being sheltered by the Trinamool government in the state.
"In the last few years, around two crore Rohingya and Bangaldeshi Muslims have entered the state illegally. Of that, one crore have moved to other parts of the country and the rest reside in Bengal under TMC government's protection," he was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
Ms Banerjee, one of the biggest critics of the exercise, had dubbed the Assam National Register of Citizens or NRC a "fiasco".
With inputs from PTI
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