Two separate FIRs have been filed against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in north eastern Indian state of Assam for describing the citizenship verification exercise in the state as a “conspiracy” to drive out Bangla-speaking population from Assam.
The BJP-led government in Assam condemned Mamata’s statement alleging it amounted contempt of the Supreme Court under whose monitoring the verification exercise is being carried out to update the 1951 National Register of Citizens.
Social activist Kailash Sharma and advocate Tailendra Nath Das filed two separate FIRs (First Information Report) with the Assam police yesterday accusing Mamata of making inflammatory remarks and promoting hostility between communities over the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Das, who referred to a news item published in a local daily that mentioned the CM’s speech on Wednesday, and said in his FIR that Mamata’s remarks also caused contempt of the Supreme Court and requested for registration of a case under Section 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code.
Addressing a public meeting in Birbhum district of West Bengal on Wednesday, the West Bengal Chief Minister had reportedly termed the citizenship verification exercise in Assam as an attempt to oust Bangla-speaking people from Assam and warned the BJP-led government of Assam not to play with fire.
Assam’s Industries Minister and the state government’s spokesman Chandra Mohan Patowary reacted sharply to Mamata’s remarks and told the media in Guwahati yesterday that “the people of Assam have cooperated and supported the NRC updation cutting across caste, creed, language and religion”.
“All political parties of the state have also extended full support to the exercise, and so have all student bodies and socio-cultural organisations. But Mamata Banerjee’s remarks, made at a public meeting at Birbhum in West Bengal on Wednesday have not only sounded provocative but also insulting to the entire people of Assam,” he added.
Mamata’s statement was “baseless and politically motivated and was intended at foment trouble” in Assam, Patowary charged.
“The government of Assam is committed to providing security to lives and property of all inhabitants of the state irrespective of caste, creed, language and religion. We urge the West Bengal Chief Minister to refrain from making provocative statements,” the Assam minister said.
Meanwhile, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which had spearheaded a violent agitation against “illegal migrants” in Assam in 1960s and 70s, has appealed to the Supreme Court to take cognisance of Mamata’s utterances and initiate action against her.
“The West Bengal CM’s statement is extremely unfortunate. The entire exercise is being carried out under the directive and monitoring of the Supreme Court. She is trying to drive a wedge between communities living peacefully in Assam by making unfounded utterances,” AASU general secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said.
The Assam unit of BJP urged the Registrar General of India and the officials involved in citizenship verification exercise to file a case against Mamata in the Supreme Court.
“Banerjee made the comment to lure Bengali-speaking people towards Trinamool Congress because BJP is gaining ground in her state. Bangalees in Assam have had no issues with NRC but she is playing a dangerous game even if it means contempt of court,” state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said.
All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) also lashed out at Banerjee. “At a time when the situation in Assam is sensitive on the citizenship issue, such a statement from Mamata Di is uncalled for and condemnable. The NRC is being prepared under the guidance and supervision of the Supreme Court and we have full faith in the government machinery and hope for an error-free NRC with the names of all genuine citizens,” AIUDF chief Maulana Badruddin Ahmed said.
Congress lawmaker Ripun Bora shot off a letter to the Registrar General of India alleging “deliberate negligence” on the part of NRC authorities in verifying documents in 208 NRC Sewa Kendras across 13 districts of Assam. Most of these districts like Barpeta, Dhubri, Goalpara, Nagaon, Karimganj and Hailakandi are Muslim-dominated.