West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has said that the West Bengal Assembly would soon pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). If this actually happens, West Bengal would be the third state after Kerala and Punjab to do take legally available measures to officially boycott the CAA.
At her address in Kolkata, she also appealed to all the northeastern and opposition parties to study the National Population Register (NPR) directives before agreeing to implement the, saying that there were some “contentious columns” in the NPR form that were introduced to “pave the way for a countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC).”
She said, “We will pass a resolution against CAA. There can be an all-opposition party meet in Kolkata. The Centre should remove all clauses in NPR that support NRC. I appeal to all state governments in the northeast, including Tripura and Assam, to know the law before taking a decision on NPR. It is a dangerous game and totally related to NRC and CAA. Pass a resolution everywhere to withdraw CAA.”
The Home Ministry had mentioned that the fields that sought the birth details of parents were not mandatory to be filled. Regarding this she asked, “If the fields are not mandatory, why are they part of the form? Efforts should be made to remove those questions. If they continue to exist on paper (form), those that do not enter birth details of parents might be automatically excluded. There is an apprehension.”
In Siliguri, where she was to inaugurate the Uttarbanga Utsav she reiterated her apprehensions about the NPR. She asked, “The NPR authorities have introduced a column in the form, where people have to mention parents’ dates and places of birth. But where do I get my parents’ birth certificates from?”
“The NPR form is just like a marksheet. One has to fill in each and every column of the form just like one has to pass subjects mentioned in a mark sheet. So, if you leave a column empty in the NPR form, it may be deemed incomplete,” she added, further saying, “Don’t worry. We are your watchdog.”
Mamata Banerjee has been the first and perhaps the staunchest opponents of the CAA, NRC and NPR. It was the only state to have skipped the NPR conference and workshop that took place in the capital last week that was held to discuss the modalities of the NPR and the Census. Before leading multiple rallies in her home state, she had also led the WB Assembly to pass a resolution against the NRC on September 6, 2019, saying, “We do not accept the NRC. What has happened in Assam, can never happen in Bengal. The NRC implementation is nothing but an attempt to divert the attention of the common people from the economic crisis in the country.”