Upgrading ration cards part of Census, not NRC: Mamata
    Kolkata, Sep 24 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister
Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said the National Register of
Citizens will not be implemented in the state and assured the
people that the current drive to upgrade ration cards is a
part of the upcoming Census and has no link with the NRC.
    Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, claimed
that the NRC was actually a ploy to snatch the hard-earned
freedom of the countrymen.
    The chief minister, who had on Monday accused the BJP
of creating panic over NRC and claimed it led to six deaths in
the state, tried to dispel the apprehension of the people.
    A rumour is being spread that this exercise is
associated with the NRC, she said without taking the name of
the BJP on Tuesday and advised people not to trust those who
were spreading such canards.
    "There will be no NRC (in West Bengal). Do not worry
about it. The current drive of upgrading ration cards and
voters' cards is a routine job for the Cencus," she said.
    The chief minister is harping on the issue of NRC to
counter the BJP which has been saying that NRC would be
implemented in the state to get rid of Bangladeshi Muslims who
are living in West Bengal illegally.
    Banerjee had raised the issue of NRC in Assam during
her recent meeting with BJP president and Union Home Minister
Amit Shah in New Delhi. The final NRC, a list of Assam's
residents and published on August 31, excluded the names of
over 19 lakh people.
    "Those who have been living in West Bengal for long
are very much Indian citizens. Nobody will be able to drive
anybody out from the state. I assure you that none will suffer
in West Bengal because of the NRC," she said.
    Banerjee was addressing a gathering after launching a
year-long programme to celebrate the 200th birth anniversary
of Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, an icon of the Bengal
Renaissance, from his birthplace at Birsingha in Paschim
Medinipore district.
    The chief minister said, "This (NRC) is nothing but a
conspiracy to snatch the freedom of the people. This is a lie,
a canard. Do not trust them (who are spreading such rumours).
I advise you not to trust their words. I will ask you to trust
Vidyasagar, Netaji, Vivekananda... Always remember that all
are equal in India."
    A bust of Vidyasagar was vandalised during a clash
between workers of the Trinamool Congress and the BJP when the
saffron party president Amit Shah was holding a roadshow in
Kolkata before the Lok Sabha elections. The parties accused
each other of desecrating the bus. PTI SCH

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)