Mamata equates Assam’s draft citizens’ list to ‘divide-and-rule’ policy

New Delhi: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday launched a sharp attack on BJP, after the release of  National registry of citizens in Assam, alleging that it is the ruling party’s strategy to isolate people who don’t vote for them.

As per reports, the updated list left out over 40 lakh people who currently live in the state.

“Many people have been identified as foreigners and they are to be sent back. There are many children and women among them,” said Banerjee.

The Bengal CM added that she was “worried about torture” and that people had become “refugees” in their own country.

While announcing that she will reach out to PM Modi about the subject in person, Banerjee said, “This is divide-and-rule policy. People are being isolated… this will destroy humanity”.

She said that the PM should save people instead of isolating them.

This is the first instance since 1951 that Assam’s National Register of Citizens or NRC has been updated to account for illegal migration from neighbouring Bangladesh.

The officials, while releasing the list, have assured that no arrests or deportation will take place as it is only a draft.

“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.

Claims and objections from those left out of the citizens’ list will be taken up from August 30 to September 28.

However, the opposition parties are seeing it 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?” Banerjee said.

“Every state has people staying from other states, like Gujarat and Maharashtra.”

Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, the Congress, CPM and Samajwadi party protested in parliament, saying the list puts “human rights and democratic rights” of people at stake.

Urging parties not to “create panic”, the home minister said: “It is a sensitive issue and should not be politicised unnecessarily.”

Of 3.29 crore people who had applied for their names to be included, 2.89 crore have made it to the revised citizens’ list. The rest face the prospect of being declared illegal and sent out unless they can satisfy the doubts of the authorities.

The register counts only those as Assam citizens who can prove that they were living in the state on or before March 21, 1971.

The list has been updated to include descendants of those in the state in 1951 — when the first census took place — or those who were in Assam’s electoral rolls as of March 24, 1971.