The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and the National Register of Citizens are "two sides of the same coin", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday. She reiterated her stand that her party will oppose it till the end.
"If you give citizenship to all the communities, we will accept it. But if you discriminate on the basis of religion, we will oppose it and also fight against it," Ms Banerjee said while addressing workers of the Trinamool Congress in Kolkata.
The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB, which seeks to make it easier for non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to become citizens of India, was cleared by the cabinet on Wednesday for tabling in parliament.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in January but lapsed without being cleared in Rajya Sabha.
The West Bengal Chief Minister said the bill is being taken up by the centre to divert attention of the people from the economic slowdown.
The opposition alleges that the bill targets Muslims and is at odds with the secular principles enshrined in the constitution as it excludes a community. According to critics, the move is a violation of Article 14 which guarantees the right to equality.
"The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are two sides of the same coin. We won't allow implementation of CAB in Bengal. I urge other political parties to not support CAB," Mamata Banerjee said.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill aims at granting Indian citizenship to people from six communities - Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis -- who had migrated to India without valid travel documents or whose documents have expired.
The proposed implementation of National Register of Citizens in West Bengal has turned into a flash point with the Trinamool Congress government vehemently opposing it.
In Assam, the citizens' list had left out 19.6 lakh names.