Every Person Living Here is a Citizen of India, Says Mamata Banerjee Amid NRC Fear in Bengal

Siliguri: Iterating that she would never allow the implementation of NRC in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said every person living in this state is a citizen of India.

Those who have turned 18 should immediately enroll themselves in voters' list, she asserted. Speaking at a programme here in Mallaguri, Banerjee said, "There will be no NRC implementation in West Bengal. We will not allow any division among the people of the state. Do

not be worried. Be rest assured we are your custodians.

"The chief minister also said that the people of this state have earned their right to be called an Indian citizen through their participation in freedom struggle and contribution to Bengal renaissance.

"We, who stay in West Bengal, are all Indian citizens and we have earned this right through our fight for freedom, through our contribution to renaissance.

"This right was given to us by Raja Rammohan Roy, (Iswar Chandra) Vidyasagar, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and several patriots who sacrificed their lives fighting for the independence of the nation," she said.

The chief minister, who embarked on her north Bengal tour on Monday, her first visit to the region since Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, stated, "We vote because it's our democratic right. And I request all those who have attained the age of voting to get their names enrolled as voters."

Banerjee had always been vocal against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise, recently conducted in neighbouring Assam, while describing it as a ploy of the BJP- led central government to distract people's attention from the economic crisis in the country.

"We want peace in every family of West Bengal. We will not allow anybody to disrupt peace. There is no question of that (allowing people to disrupt peace here). People from every walk of society have the right to stay in Bengal. Not a single person will be forced out.

"Do not forget that our government will never allow such implementation (of NRC)... Remember that our government was, is and will continue to run the state," she maintained. Contending that the safety of Bengal people was of primary importance to her, the TMC supremo said she stayed up all night during the four-day Durga puja celebrations to ensure no untoward incident happen anywhere in the city.

"I could not leave Kolkata during Durga Puja because I had to remain alert, keep guard to ensure the safety of my people," Banerjee added.

Over 19 lakh people of 3.29 crore applicants were left out of the final NRC list published in August in neighbouring Assam. The exercise was aimed at identifying immigrants residing illegally in the northeastern state. Banerjee is scheduled to leave for Kurseong on Tuesday

after holding an administrative meeting here at Uttarkanya (branch secretariat).