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Left, Dalit Leaders Warn of Unrest if NRC is Undertaken in Bengal

Convention in Kolkata pledges to unitedly deter BJP-RSS from “creating another humanitarian crisis in West Bengal” by making the future of a sizeable population ‘uncertain’.
Convention in Kolkata pledges to unitedly deter BJP-RSS from “creating another humanitarian crisis in West Bengal” by making the future of a sizeable population ‘uncertain’.

Kolkata: There will be widespread unrest in West Bengal even if there is any contemplation on initiating NRC (National Register of Citizens) in the state, warned leaders Left parties and dalit organisations at a convention held here on Thursday by the Paschimbanga Samajik Nyaybichar Mancha (PSNM).

Addressing the convention, Ramchandra Dom, general secretary of Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM), said in the name of NRC, an unimaginable humanitarian crisis was unfolding. “Can you imagine any other step that has caused over 80 suicides? How can it be a humane step?”

Dom said the aim of NRC and the threat by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government to start it elsewhere was part of an attempt to make the future of a sizeable population of the country uncertain. “This in contrary to the Constitution of our country, written by Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar,” he said.

The Left leader said those whose names were not in Assam’s final list of NRC will not get justice from a quasi-judicial body like the Foreigner’s Tribunal, adding that a “judicial body will the best option.”

Dom said Bengal had unitedly fought against famine, wars, genocide and the Partition, and the Left forces would resort to all possible methods to deter the ruling class from creating another humanitarian crisis in West Bengal.

Mohd Salim, polit bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), reminded the convention that in Assam, all of this had started in the name of voter list verification and a similar kind of exercise was underway in West Bengal.   

Salim, a former member of Palriament, warning of big-time resistance if NRC was undertaken in the state. “Enough is enough, not a single Indian citizen will be allowed to be pushed to any other country,” he said, asking if these “plundering forces (Sangh Parivar) that are racially instigating people, have ever been patriots? Will you ever find any surname of Adani, Ambani or Modi in the martyr list freedom fighters in the Cellular Jail of Port Blair? Who are these people who are now trying to check the ancestral antecedents of Bengali people, who have been valiant freedom fighters?”

Referring to Narendra Modi, he said “a prime Minister who doesn’t have his papers of degree qualification cannot ask bonafide residents of the country to produce documents as a citizen of the country.”

Salim also criticised the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the “real force behind the Modi government…thinks that all this is unfinished task of Partition”. He added that in 1946, in the then Bengal Assembly, among those who had voted against Partition of Bengal were senior Congress leader Saratchandra Bose (Netaji’s elder brother) and Jyoti Basu, a communist party leader led all the communist legislators to vote against it along with Jogen Mandal, the dalit leader, who led all dalit legislators to vote against Bengal’s partition.

Alokesh Das, a former MP and general secretary of PSNM, said an attempt was being made to make those who speak Bangla ‘insecure’ across the country.

He said dalits and tribals would be worst affected by the NRC exercise across the country, being pushed by ‘Manuvadi’ forces such as RSS and BJP, as they are the most poor and vulnerable.

“Is it possible for a daily wage earner to move with 23 certified copies and file them in NRC?,” he asked.

Social justice activist Nitish Biswas recounted the tragedy of the poor people in Assam, most them Bengalis, while pointing out the BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma and Asom Gana Parishad leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, who had told Assam residents that all this was aimed towards a single community, and that Hindus were safe. He said out of the 19 lakh people excluded from the final NRC list, about 12 lakh are Hindus and most of them are from dalit backgrounds.   

PSNM president Basudev Barman, a noted educationist and former MP, said dalit movements need to co-ordinate with other sections of the society so that a strong people’s movement is fostered across the country.

Dalit activists Kapilkrishna Thakur and Haripada Biswas pointed out that most of the people who had migrated from Bangladesh during Bengal’s partition, were Hindus, adding that the RSS campaign about Muslim ‘infiltrators’ was false. Exposing the BJP’s agenda, he said one of his party functionaries in Uttar Pradesh, an avid follower of Netaji, was recently told by BJP activists to take BJP membership, as in case of NRC, only the membership bill of BJP could save him from marked as a foreigner if NRC is undertaken there.

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