Kolkata: A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah set 2024 as the deadline for implementing NRC across the country, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday termed the citizens register as "BJP's political rhetoric".
She said a pan India citizens' register can never be a reality on the basis of caste and religion as all persons living in the country are its legal citizens.
A citizens' register would be a blunder as it would face backlash across the country, she said. "We will not allow the National Register of Citizens (NRC), it will never happen in West Bengal. You cannot implement NRC on the basis of caste and religion," she told reporters in the premises of the state assembly. "NRC is the political rhetoric of BJP. It can never be a reality. They (BJP) are busy using political rhetoric but we should not fall into their trap.
All people living in this country are its legal citizens and no one can take away their citizenship," Banerjee, who is a staunch critic of the saffron party, said.
The TMC supremo said her opposition to NRC is not driven only by politics but also on humanitarian grounds. "A person who is living in the country for last so many decades, how can you just announce him foreigner all of a sudden? This is completely unacceptable. Pan India NRC will never be a reality," Banerjee said.
Her comments come a day after BJP chief Amit Shah at an election rally in Jharkhand on Monday set 2024 as the deadline for implementing the hugely divisive NRC across the country. He asserted that "each and every" infiltrator will be identified and expelled before the next general election.
The omission of a large number of Hindu Bengalis from the final NRC list in BJP-ruled Assam has apparently created panic among the people in West Bengal and has allegedly led to 11 deaths in the state so far.