New Delhi: Trading verbal blows a day after the second and final draft of Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC) was released, Mamata Banerjee and Amit Shah on Monday engaged in a heated exchange of words over the future of nearly 40 lah people in the state.
While 40 lakh people not included in the list possibly face the danger of losing voting rights, the Centre has maintained that the list is not cast in stone and a Home Ministry official reportedly saying that the process of claims and objections to the draft would begin from August 30.
Mamata though was quickly off the block and while she launched a scathing attack on Monday itself, said on Tuesday that she fears a civil war would break out. "They are trying to divide people. There will be bloodbath a civil war in the country," she was quoted as saying by PTI at an event in Delhi. "Only to win polls, people can't be victimised. Don't you think people who's name isn't in list will lose a part of their identity? Please understand India-Pakistan-Bangladesh were one before partition. Whoever came from Bangladesh to India till March 1971 is an Indian citizen."
The rebuttal to Mamata's accusations were swift and equally ferocious. "I was listening to Mamata ji before coming here," said Amit Shah at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. "The threat of civil war has already once divided this country. What is she trying to say? Trinamool Congress should come forward and clear its stand. By encouraging infiltrators, how can we ensure security at the borders and internal security of the nation? I firmly believe NRC Assam is for the security of the country. We will fully implement SC's judgement on it. No one should do vote-bank politics on the matter."
While Amit Shah did give a firm rebuttal, Mamata later in the day also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
I asked him to amend NRC Bill or bring new bill. He has assured me they (govt) will not harass people. I also spoke to him about reports of NRC being implemented in Bengal, I told him that if such a thing happens there can be a civil war: WB CM after meeting Rajnath Singh #Delhi pic.twitter.com/ug5ADUXJlK
— ANI (@ANI) July 31, 2018
Several opposition parties, including Congress, have criticised the NRC draft with Rahul Gandhi even calling it tardy. "Clearly, after spending close to Rs 1,200 crore, the execution of this critical and highly sensitive exercise has been tardy. The government must move swiftly to resolve this crisis," he wrote in a Facebook post.
(With agency inputs)