On a day Union Home minister Amit Shah placed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today gave a clarion call to oppose the "divisive" bill "at any cost" and said not a single citizen of the country will be allowed to turn a refugee.
Giving assurances that NRC and CAB will be never allowed in Bengal as long as the TMC is in power, Ms Banerjee said NRC and CAB are both two sides of a coin.
Her comments come on a day when Mr Shah after introducing the bill in Lok Sabha said it is not against minorities but against infiltrators.
"Its a divisive bill and shall be opposed at any cost," she said on CAB. Claiming that at least 30 people have committed suicide in the state due to panic over National Register of Citizens (NRC) being implemented here in the wake of publication of citizens register in the neighbouring state of Assam, Banerjee said in a secular country like India, citizenship can never be accorded on the basis of religion.
"There is no need to worry about NRC and CAB. We will never ever allow it in Bengal. They can't just throw out a legal citizen of this country or turn him/her a refugee," the TMC supremo said while addressing a rally at Kharagpur-where her party won the recent bypolls.
"Not a single citizen of this country will turn a refugee. Some people are trying to create panic with their political rhetoric but let me make one thing very clear there will no NRC and CAB. You cannot implement NRC or CAB on the basis of caste and religion", she said.
"The government can very well put a clause of green citizenship card holder for those who are now coming to the country. But how come the government ask those who have been living in the country for the last five-six decades to leave the nation? Everybody who is living in this country is a legal citizen," Ms Banerjee said.
She had last week termed her fight against CAB and NRC as "second war of Independence".
TMC has 22 members in Lok Sabha and 13 in Rajya Sabha.
Members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who come from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan facing persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship when the proposed amendments to the six-decade-old Citizenship Act come into effect.
According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the new law, however, will not be applicable in the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime areas and those tribal regions which are governed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
"Why do a person need so many documents? This is harassment of common people. We have brought in a new system where a person can have at least a non subsidised digital ration card to prove his/her identity. Where a person may not avail ration but will have an identity card," she said.
Ms Banerjee also took shots at the Centre over steep rise in prices of onions.
"Prices of onions are skyrocketing but they are least bothered about it. The issue of price rise is centre's concern. We have taken steps to provide some relief by giving onion at a subsidised rate from ration shops. Why can't centre take measures to control the price rise of the essentials?" Ms Banerjee questioned.