Kolkata, September 24: Hundreds of people lined up at government and municipal offices here and across West Bengal Tuesday to collect their birth certificates and necessary documents to be in readiness should NRC be implemented in the state despite assurances by the TMC government that it would not be allowed.
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 and has allegedly led to six deaths in the state so far.
Large queues were seen outside Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) headquartersand other division offices in the city and BDO offices in other parts of Bengal as people waited for their turn to search for land and other necessary documents.
“I have come to the KMC office to collect my birth certificate as I had lost it long back. I have heard that we need to have our birthcertificates to prove that we are citizens of this country in case NRC is implemented in Bengal,” said 75-year-old Ajit Ray, who was seen standing outsideKMC headquarters.
55-year-old Bimal Mondal was seen standing outside the land records department of KMC, in search of documents of land procurement in Kolkata by his parents five decades ago.
In rural Bengal similar picture was witnessed outside various government and panchayat offices.
“What will we do if we are declared foreigners though we were born and brought up in this country ? From where will I get documents of my father being born in this country?” 25-year-old Khalque Mollah of South 24 Parganas district said.
According to government sources, six people have died so far in the districts. Two of them allegedly committed suicide after failing to procure old documents and four others died after falling ill while standing in queues with thousands of villagers at different government offices to get their documents.
More than 19 lakh people in Assam have been excluded from the recently published final NRC on August 31, out of which around 12 lakh are Hindus.
“We are requesting people not to panic at all. There will be no NRC in Bengal. The TMC government will never allow it. As long as TMC government is in power not a single person will be touched,” Kolkata Mayor and senior minister Firhad Hakim told reporters.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused BJP of creating panic over NRC and had iterated she will not allow NRC exercise in the state.
The BJP Bengal leadership has, however, blamed Banerjee and her party, the TMC for creating a panic over NRC in Bengal to instill fear among the Hindus.
“Only TMC will be responsible for the deaths over NRC in the state. We have clearly said all the Hindus who have come from other countries will be given citizenship under Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) and then NRC will be implemented to weed out the infiltrators,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said. (PTI)