West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday called the National Register of Citizens (NRC) update exercise in Assam a conspiracy to expel Bengalis out of Assam and compared the exercise with the 1960s ethnic cleansing ‘Bongal Kheda’ movement, The New Indian Express reported.
Addressing a public rally at Amodpur in Birbhum district of West Bengal on Wednesday, the Trinamool Congress supremo warned that ethnic problems in Assam would invariably have effects in West Bengal.
“I urge BJP not to play with fire. People are being removed from their native land with this conspiracy of NRC. If Bengalis are attacked or expelled from Assam, we would not keep quiet,” she warned resulting in a huge applause.
She drew comparisons of NRC with the 1960s ‘Bongal Kheda’ or ‘Expel Bengalis’ ethnic cleansing movement in Assam when nearly 50,000 Bengalis of Assam had to flee the state and take shelter in West Bengal. Another 14,000 Bengalis fled to West Bengal during the 1972-73 Language Riots in Assam.
“If Bengalis chose to stay in Assam, they have to be embraced,” she said.
Names of more than 70 per cent of Bengali speakers have reportedly not come up in the first draft of NRC, the most affected being Bengali-dominated Barak Valley in south Assam.
The CM urged Trinamool Congress MPs to stage a protest at the Parliament on Thursday against NRC.