Kolkata: Taking a cue from Kerala, Punjab and Maharashtra, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday declared that her government would pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) soon in the state Assembly. Describing the National Population Register (NPR) as a “dangerous game,” she appealed to the governments of all Northeastern states to study it before taking a decision on its implementation. She also asked the Centre to pass a resolution for its withdrawal.
“The NPR is a very dangerous game because it is totally related to the National Register of Citizens and the CAA. I will request the Central government to pass a resolution to withdraw it. We also passed a resolution against the NPR here four months ago. For the CAA also we will pass a resolution in three-four days,” the Trinamul Congress supremo said at Kolkata airport before leaving for North Bengal.
Ms Banerjee mocked the states which sent their representatives to a meeting called by the Union home ministry on NPR in New Delhi on January 17 and said they have been “brainwashed”. At the inauguration of Uttar Banda Utsob she later observed, “Many of them spoke differently. But I found all of them attended the meeting later. Only I did not go… I protested alone. I kept my word.”
Ms Banerjee said, “I ask all the Northeast states ruled by the BJP and those ruled by other parties to rethink NPR before implementing it. All of you attended the meeting and you were convinced with the clever and nice words. Whoever wants to remain convinced by them, let him be, but I am not.”
According to her, several conditions related to the NRC have been set in the name of the NPR.
“I request all the states to see the law properly before taking the decision to start the process. I also request them not to participate in the matter because the conditions are very bad. There is a column in the NPR that says: Give the birth certificates of your father and mother or their address. Though I have not gone through it, I have seen it the press-media,” the Trinamul chief alleged.
She claimed, “Basically, it is not mandatory. If it is not mandatory, you withdraw it. Why will it exist in your paper? If it exists on paper, those who will not provide their parents’ names or dates and places of birth will be excluded. There is apprehension about it. So they first have to withdraw all these clauses and conditions... I urge these states to see it.”
Several opposition-ruled states, including Bengal, Kerala and Punjab, have put an end to the work on the National Population Register. Critics say they are concerned that the NRC, read with the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA, will be misused to target Muslims.
Chief Secretaries of six states stayed away from the January 17 meeting, sending other officials in their place. Bengal skipped the meeting altogether.