The Assam Police on Thursday filed a case against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after she claimed on Wednesday that the updating of the National Register of Citizens in Assam was a conspiracy to drive Bengalis away from the state.
The case was registered after police got several complaints against Banerjee’s speech. Banerjee was accused of contempt of court and promoting enmity among groups, PTI reported.
Banerjee’s statement was met with massive protests by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assam on Thursday. Several organisations also burned her effigy, The Tribune reported. The BJP accused her of playing divisive politics over the citizens’ register and said it had exposed her lack of knowledge about the process, which is meant only to identify illegal immigrants.
Banerjee had accused the Assam government of trying to push out Bengalis from the state. “Look at Assam. Bangali Khedao [remove the Bengalis] is going on there,” Banerjee had said at a public meeting on Thursday. “There is a conspiracy in Assam to drive away the people who are staying there for the last 30-40 years. 1.25 crore people might be driven away from there in the name of the Citizenship Act.”
Assam began to update the National Register of Citizens in 2015 to create a definitive list of citizens of the state and root out illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The Assam government published the first draft of the National Register of Citizens – a list of verified Indian citizens – at midnight on January 1. The Supreme Court had set December 31 as the deadline for the publication of the first draft.
No one at this stage has been declared to be an illegal migrant – whom the process seeks to identify and eventually deport. The first list verified 1.9 crore people, of 3.29 crore who applied, as legal citizens of India.