BJP chief and Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said that all "infiltrators" will be thrown out of India, while also accusing West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee of creating panic over the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Shah also spoke in favour of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill while terming his government decision to revoke Article 370 as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tribute to Syama Prasad Mookherjee, founder of BJP's predecessor Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
No country in the world can run smoothly with the weight of so many intruders. This series has to stop. We are working towards changing Bengal.
We will have to implement NRC to ensure the country's safety: Shri @AmitShah B#JP4SonarBangla
— BJP (@BJP4India) October 1, 2019
"Mamata Di is saying that millions of Hindus will have to leave West Bengal. There is no bigger lie than this," the home minister said, addressing a seminar in Kolkata. "I want to assure the people of Bengal from all communities that nothing of this sort is going to happen. People of Bengal are being misled on the issue of NRC," said Shah.
Shah has repeatedly said that the NRC exercise will be conducted across the country while the Mamata-headed TMC government in West Bengal had asserted that the NRC exercise will not be allowed in the state.
Shah's remarks also assume importance as they were made at a time when there have been 11 deaths in the state allegedly due to panic over the implementation of NRC in West Bengal. Hundreds of people have been seen lining up at government and municipal offices in Kolkata and across the state to collect their birth certificates and necessary documents to be in readiness should NRC be implemented in the state.
TMC has been against the updation of the NRC calling it an "anti-Bengali" move by BJP. Banerjee, who had met Shah earlier this month in the national capital over the matter, has been building public opinion against the NRC exercise. The TMC supremo had also led a rally against NRC on 12 September in the city.
Besides, the West Bengal Assembly had in August passed a resolution against the NRC and Banerjee had vowed not to allow its implementation in Bengal.
"Mamata di is saying she will not allow the NRC to happen in Bengal. I'm telling you that we will not allow even a single infiltrator inside India. We will expel all of them," Shah said.
Accusing Mamata of doublespeak and playing vote bank politics over NRC, Shah said, "When Mamata Di was in Opposition, she asked for these intruders to be removed. She had thrown her shawl on the State Assembly Speaker's face on this same issue. Now that they've become her vote bank, she doesn't want them to be removed."
When Mamata Di was in Opposition, asked for these intruders to be removed. She had thrown her shawl on the State Assembly Speaker's face on this same issue. Now that they've become her vote bank, she doesn't want them to be removed: Shri @AmitShah #BJP4SonarBangla — BJP (@BJP4India) October 1, 2019
Shah also defended NRC, terming it an important step for the country's safety. "No country in the world can run smoothly with the weight of so many intruders. This (illegal immigration) has to stop. We are working towards changing Bengal. We will have to implement NRC to ensure the country's safety," he said.
"I appeal to every worker of the party to reach out to every Bengali and explain to them the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and the NRC. We will ensure that it is implemented in the state, and all intruders are sent back to their right place," Shah said accusing the TMC of working against granting citizenship to people of India.
"We had brought the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in the Rajya Sabha, but the TMC MPs did not allow the Upper House to function," he added.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the current norm, even if they do not possess any document. The legislation was passed by the Lok Sabha during its winter session on 8 January but could not be cleared by the Upper House.
Referring to TMC's Opposition to the Bill, Shah said, "They did not allow the bill to be passed, and due to this, there are people in our country who are yet to get Indian citizenship."
Some senior BJP leaders have said that the Bill will be reintroduced in the Winter Session of Parliament.
Shah, who was in West Bengal for the first time since assuming the office of the Union home minister earlier this year, also took the opportunity to slam his critics who have labelled him and his party as an "outsider" during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
"Some people say that we are outsiders in Bengal. I want to ask such people to read history. During Partition, the entire Bengal was about to go to Pakistan. Then, it was our leader, Syama Prasad Mookherjee, who revolted and formed West Bengal."
"Today, if West Bengal is a part of the Union of India, it is the result of the revolt of Mookherjee," he reiterated.
কিছু মানুষ বলেন আমরা বাংলায় বহিরাগত। আমি তাদের বলতে চাই যে ইতিহাসের পাতায় লেখা আছে দেশভাগের সময় গোটা বাংলা পাকিস্তানে অন্তর্ভুক্ত হয়ে যাবার কথা ছিল।
শ্যামাপ্রসাদ মুখার্জী আমাদের নেতা যিনি এর বিরোধ করেছিলেন, বিদ্রোহ করেছিলেন এবং পশ্চিমবঙ্গ গঠন করেছিলেন : @AmitShah
— BJP Bengal (@BJP4Bengal) October 1, 2019
Shah also defended his government decision to revoke sections of Article 370 and 35A and bifurcating the former state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories, terming it as a tribute to Mookherjee who had opposed awarding special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said.
"Bengal's son Mookherjee had said that there can't be two heads, two laws and two constitutions in the country. He was arrested and died in suspicious circumstances. After his death, Congress thought the matter ended, but they didn't know that BJP never leaves anything unfinished. You brought BJP government at the Centre, and we struck down Article 370," Shah said.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Oct 01, 2019 18:15:58 IST