Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of creating panic over National Register of Citizens, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday claimed spectre of National Register of Citizens implementation has led to six deaths in the state.
Addressing a trade unions' meet, the Trinamool Congress supremo iterated she will not allow NRC exercise in the state.
"NRC exercise will not be carried out in Bengal or anywhere else in country, it was conducted in Assam due to Assam accord.
"Even Bihar Chief Minister (Nitish Kumar,where there is a National Democratic Alliance government) has said he won't allow NRC in his state. If BJP is so keen on NRC why don't they conduct the exercise in the BJP ruled Tripura, you will see Tripura Chief Minister (Biplab Deb) himself is out of the list," she asserted.
The Assam Accord, an agreement signed in 1985 between the then Rajiv Gandhi government and the All Assam Students' Union, had ended a six-year mass movement against immigrants alleged to have settled illegally from Bangladesh.
"Shame on the BJP for creating panic over NRC in Bengal, it has led to six deaths. Have faith in me, I will never allow the exercise in Bengal. BJP should stop spreading false rumours and canards over NRC.
"Who are they to ask for my papers? After so many years where from will I get my papers, documents might get washed away in natural calamity or it might get misplaced," Banerjee said, without elaborating further.
According to the state government sources, so far six people have died in several districts of Bengal with two of them allegedly committing suicide after failing to get hold of old documents and four others died after falling ill while standing in the queue with thousands of other villagers at government offices to get their documents.
More than 19 lakh people in Assam have been excluded from the recently published final NRC, a proof of Indian citizenship.
Criticising the saffron party for "undermining democratic values" in the country, the chief minister said, "Democracy exists in Bengal but it is under threat in several other parts of the country."
The BJP is not talking about job losses or the downward spiral of Indian economy, all it wants to do is serve own political interests, she alleged.
"A rally will be taken out on October 18 against privatisation and shutting down of public sector units across the country. I will take part in it. On September 26-27, we would conduct protest rallies in the city against
privatisation," the TMC chief stated.
The central government is planning disinvestment of 42 PSUs, out of which many of them are profit making. The centre is even planning privatisation of Ordinance factories, this will have a disastrous impact on India's defence mechanisam and compromise national security, she said.
"I believe protests are important in a democracy. The day protests lose their value, India will stop being India",
Reacting to Banerjee's statement,West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said she herself is trying to create panic over NRC in order to instill fear among the Hindus.
"She is trying to create panic among Hindus over NRC. We have clearly said all the Hindus who have come from other countries will be given citizenship under Citizenship (Ammendment) Bill and then NRC will be implemented to
weed out infiltrators," Ghosh said.
According to the TMC sources, the publication of the final NRC list in Assam, which left out over 19.6 lakh people -- of which around 12 lakh are Hindus and Bengali Hindus -- has changed political narrative in the state to a great extent.
The ruling TMC has been on the offensive by milking the issue of updating the NRC as an "anti-Bengali" move on the part of the saffron party.
BJP national president and union Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to address a seminar on NRC in Kolkata on October 1.
Referring to the recent Jadavpur University fracas on September 19, she said the people of Bengal have seen what they (ABVP and BJP) did at the institute.
"They try to wield power everywhere, bulldoze everything," Banerjee said.
Union minister of State -- Babul Supriyo -- was heckled and held up in the Jadavpur university campus by a section of students on Thursday last when he had gone to address a function of the ABVP, affiliated to the RSS.
The CM also lambasted the media for allegedly bowing down to the BJP-led government at the Centre.
"The media is not playing the role it is supposed to. Barring a few, most media houses have bowed down to the BJP-led government," she added.