The Trinamool Congress is taking to the streets to protest the National Register of Citizens or NRC and threats by some BJP leaders that the exercise just concluded in neighbouring Assam would be held in West Bengal as well.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told party leaders at a meeting on Monday that it should prepared for anti-NRC meetings in the districts on 7 and 8 September and a massive rally on 12 September.
Her announcement came a day after an apolitical organisation Bharatiya Gorkha Parasingh or Indian Gorkha Confederation claimed that at least one lakh Gorkhas living in Assam had been excluded from the NRC released on Saturday. A total of 19.6 lakh people have been excluded.
Ms Banerjee expressed serious concern about the exclusion of Gorkhas who are primarily based in Darjeeling in North Bengal.
"Earlier I was not aware of the full NRC fiasco. As more and more information is coming in, we are shocked to see that names of more than one lakh Gorkha people have been excluded from the list," she tweeted on Sunday.
After Ms Banerjee raised the Gorkha issue, so did the pro-Trinamool faction of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the political party of the community in Darjeeling. As many as 1,63,436 Gorkhas were left out of NRC, it claimed, as well as 11,00,299 Bengalis, 4,37,989 Muslims and 3,57, 549 other communities.
GJM president Benoy Tamang called out leaders of the rival pro-BJP GJM faction Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri and said, "I express my sincere gratitude to Ms Mamata Banerjee for her support for the Gorkha community which has been left out of NRC."
He also questioned newly elected BJP MP Raju Bishta about his stand on NRC. "What will you do to save the Indian Gorkha and specially the Gorkha in Assam?" wrote Mr Tamang.
"In the elections, BJP and allies said NRC will not affect the Indian Gorkha. But we saw its effect in Assam. The 1 lakh Gorkhas in Assam are suffering," he said.
"GJM demands that Indian Gorkhas to be given the status of original inhabitant by adding us to the protected list," the statement said.
There has been no word from the pro-BJP GJM leaders. But BJP MP Raju Bishta issued a statement denouncing claims of Gorkhas out of NRC as false.
"All this talk about over 1 lakh Gorkhas being left out of NRC Roll is a rumour and has no basis on facts. This figure is pure speculation... A few political aprties are spreading misinformation and attempting to mislead our people," Mr Bishta said in a statement.
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