Dalit group to protest against exclusion of Bengali Hindus from NRC on Sep 23

People wait to check their names on the final draft of the state’s National Register of Citizens after it was released, at an NRC Seva Kendra in Tezpur on Monday. (PTI Photo)

A Dalit group, All India Namasudra Bikash Parishad (AINBP), is set to take out a ‘long march’ on September 23 to protest against Bengali Hindus’s exclusion from the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC). The march will start from Kamakhyaguri in North Bengal and walk to Srirampur on the Assam border, which is about 20 km away.

“The central government had given assurance that no Hindus will suffer because of NRC. However we have learned that out of 40 lakh people who have been excluded from the list, 80 per cent are Bengali Hindus. A large number of these Hindus belonged to SC, ST and Dalit communities. We want to register our protest against this through the long march,” Mukul Chandra Bairagya, AINBP working president, told The Indian Express.

He said the plan is to reach Guwahati and talk to people who have been affected similarly.

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“If Assam police stop us at the border, then we will block National Highway-27 which connects the two states,” he added.

Earlier, they had met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee last month. “She gave us a patient hearing and expressed solidarity with our protest,” said Bairagya.

The group is also campaigning in North Bengal districts against the BJP.

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“The BJP leaders said Hindus will be branded as refugees. If that is so, how come such refugees are treated like this? They have been put behind bars as doubtful voters. The law does not allow refugees to be put behind bars. We are strongly condemning this,” said the AINBP working president.

In the north-eastern state of Assam, India has published a list which strips four million people of their citizenship. It says the process is to root out hordes of illegal Bangladeshi migrants.

The list, named as the National Register of Citizens (NRC), is a list of people who can prove they came to the state by 24 March 1971, when Bangladesh was created.

The list has sparked fears of targeted hunting towards ethnic minorities in Assam. However, officials have said that no one will face immediate deportation and that the option of an appeal will be available to all.

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