Kolkata

Mamata backs Bengalis in Assam

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee   | Photo Credit: PTI

Raking up the issue of updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam afresh, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday urged people of the State to give shelter to people from Assam “in case they are driven out from the neighbouring State.”

“You should remain alert. If someone comes here, give them shelter as your own, do not drive them out,” Ms. Banerjee said addressing a rally in north Bengal’s Alipurduar district. During 2012 Bodo-Muslim riots in west Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Council area, north Bengal accommodated many refugees from Assam.

Ms. Banerjee claimed that genuine citizens who speak in Bengali, along with many Hindi speaking people from Bihar, were excluded from the updated NRC.

“There are many from the State from Alipurduar, Murshidabad, Malda, Jalpaiguri who have spent decades in Assam. There are many people from Assam who are living in Bengal, but we never discriminate,” she said, adding that 30% people residing in West Bengal are from other States. Out of 3.39 crore people in Assam, 1.29 crore have been excluded, Ms. Banerjee alleged.

The Chief Minister recalled the ethnic riots in Assam in 2012 and said large number of people from neighbouring State had then taken shelter in the bordering district of West Bengal.

Describing Assam as a border State, she said she was raising the issue as anything that happened in Assam concerned West Bengal.

FIR for distributing books

At the same event, Ms. Banerjee alleged that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliate organisations were privately distributing books in certain schools of the State.

“Yesterday it came to my knowledge that a book is being given to Class II students by the RSS. I have got it from a school in Uluberia and we have lodged an FIR in this case,” she said, pointing out that these books had certain contents which were aimed at inciting communal riots. The students were asked to read these books at home and not in school, Ms. Banerjee said.


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 8:12:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/mamata-backs-bengalis-in-assam/article22406337.ece

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