After Assam released a draft list of citizens leaving out over 40 lakh people who stand to lose their citizenship, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was “worried about torture” and people had become “refugees” in their own country.
“This is divide-and-rule policy. People are being isolated… this will destroy humanity,” the chief minister said in a press conference, declaring that she would take up the subject personally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I want to tell the PM — save the people, don’t isolate them.”
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 is only a draft. The recount is seen by critics as a move to target Assam’s Muslim population on the pretext of weeding out Bangladeshi migrants.
“Such a huge step is being taken. Shouldn’t the government have conversation with Bengal?” Ms Banerjee said.
Thousands of central forces are in the state to prevent any unrest over the new list.
“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.