Kolkata: Trinamool Congress leadership on Monday decided to hold mass protests across West Bengal on September 7 and 8 opposing NRC in neighbouring Assam, party sources said.
The decision was taken at an emergency meeting at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's residence on Monday afternoon. It was decided that the mass protests would be held on this weekend against the National Register of Citizens and the divisive politics of BJP, the sources said. On September 12, a protest rally will be organised in the city from Chiria More to Shyambazar in north Kolkata.
Banerjee, who is also the TMC supremo, is likely to be present in it, a senior party leader said. "During the meeting, Banerjee expressed concern over the future of 19 lakh plus people who have been left out of the final NRC list in Assam. She has asked party leaders to reach out to the people and explain to them about the sinister designs of BJP, such as the implementation of NRC if it ever comes to power in Bengal," a TMC leader said.
The updated final NRC, which validates bonafide Indian citizens of Assam, was out on Saturday. "Senior TMC leader and minister Firhad Hakim and the party's Rajya Sabha deputy leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy have been assigned to keep in touch with leaders of the northeastern states on NRC," he said.
TMC Lok Sabha party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay has been assigned to keep in touch with leaders of other regional parties across the country on the issue, party sources said. Reacting to TMC's programme, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said if the saffron party comes to power in the 2021 assembly polls in Bengal it will pitch for NRC in the state.
Ghosh demanded implementation of the citizens' register in the state to drive out Bangladeshi Muslims for the sake of the country's internal security and iterated BJP's commitment to protect the interest of Hindu refugees through the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
He accused the TMC government of aiding Bangladeshi infiltration in the border areas of Bengal to secure its minority vote bank, a charge often brought by the saffron party. TMC has opposed NRC in Assam and has slammed the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in the state for making valid citizens refugees in their own country. Banerjee had expressed concern over the exclusion of large number of Bengalis from the register. Dubbing the updated final NRC as a "fiasco", she had said it exposed those who are trying to gain "political mileage" out of the exercise.
Banerjee said she was "shocked" to find that one lakh Gorkhas have been excluded from the list and insisted that "justice should be meted out to all Indian brothers and sisters". A total of 3,30,27,661 people had applied for inclusion in the NRC. Of them, 3,11,21,004 have been included in the final list and 19,06,657 excluded, according to a statement from the Assam NRC coordinator's office.