High Tension political drama: Mamata Banerjee said there would be civil war and blood bath

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Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday tore into the government over a list of citizens that excludes 40 lakh people from Assam, warning that the move will lead to
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday tore into the government over a list of citizens that excludes 40 lakh people from Assam, warning that the move will lead to "civil war and bloodbath"

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday tore into the government over a list of citizens that excludes 40 lakh people from Assam, warning that the move will lead to “civil war and bloodbath”. Her remark drew a sharp reaction from the chief of the ruling BJP, Amit Shah, who said he was “stunned” and demanded to know, “What about the rights of Indians?”

The final draft of citizens in Assam, which leaves out over 40 lakh people, provoked political anger with opposition parties targeting the government in parliament today. Among them was the Trinamool Congress of Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who accused the ruling BJP of trying to identify and isolate people who don’t vote for the party. “They are turning Indian people into refugees in their own country,” Ms Banerjee said at a press meet she called at short notice in Kolkata before leaving for Delhi.

“Many people have been identified as foreigners and they are to be sent back. There are many children and women among them… So many Bengalis, Biharis, Hindus, Muslims… they are very much Indians,” said Mamata Banerjee, adding that she was “worried about torture” of those left out.

“It is a game plan to evict humanity and human beings forcibly and an attempt to isolate them in order to do vote politics. We do not believe in divide and rule policy,” she told reporters at the state secretariat Nabanna.

“Such a huge step is being taken. Shouldn’t the government have the conversation with Bengal?” Ms Banerjee said.

“Every state has people staying from other states, like Gujarat and Maharashtra.”

Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, the Congress, CPM and Samajwadi party protested in parliament, saying the list puts “human rights and democratic rights” of people at stake.

“Some people are unnecessarily trying to create an atmosphere of fear… This is a draft and not the final list,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.

Urging parties not to “create panic”, the Home Minister said: “It is a sensitive issue and should not be politicised unnecessarily.”

A home ministry official, Satyendra Garg, said that no one would be deported or arrested based on today’s list, which was only a draft.

Assam’s National Register of Citizens

Assam’s National Register of Citizens or NRC has been updated for the first time since 1951 to account for illegal migration from neighbouring Bangladesh.

Releasing the updated list, officials underscored that no one would be deported or arrested as this was only a draft.

Of 3.29 crore people who had applied for their names to be included, 2.89 crores have made it to the revised citizens’ list. The rest face the prospect of being declared illegal and sent out unless they can satisfy the doubts of the authorities.

It is not clear whether this 40 lakh will be eligible to vote in next year’s national election. “The Election Commission will decide,” said an official.

The register counts only those as Assam citizens who can prove that they were living in the state on or before March 21, 1971.

The list has been updated to include descendants of those in the state in 1951  when the first census took place or those who were in Assam’s electoral rolls as of March 24, 1971.

FIR filed against Ms Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee has been accused of inciting “hate and tension” among communities in a police complaint filed by activists of the ruling BJP in Assam, hours after she warned of a “civil war and bloodbath” over a list of citizens that leaves out 40 lakh people from the northeastern state.

The complaint was filed by three workers of the BJP’s youth wing in Assam’s Dibrugarh. Mamata Banerjee has accused the BJP of trying to divide the country with the draft National Register of Citizens or NRC in Assam, which leaves 40 lakh people facing the prospect of deportation.

“The NRC is being done with a political motive. We will not let this happen. They (BJP) are trying to divide the people. The situation cannot be tolerated. There will be a civil war, the bloodbath in the country,” the Bengal Chief Minister told a conclave in New Delhi.

She also accused the government of trying to make millions of people “stateless” in Assam for political gains.

BJP president Amit Shah hit back at a press conference, saying the Bengal Chief Minister was “spreading confusion” with her claims of “civil war”. Accusing her of playing vote bank politics, he said, “I heard the whole speech and I am stunned by it”.

“This step has been taken for protecting the rights of the people of India. Every party should make their stand clear where rights of Indians are important or not,” Mr Shah said.

The government has insisted that the draft NRC list released on Monday – following a long-drawn process to identify illegal Bangladeshis living in the state – is not final and that people who have been left out will be given a chance to prove their citizenship.

The draft list will be made available to the public on August 7 and those not on it can file claims and objections from August 30 to September 28, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.

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