TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Source:ReutersOne of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s biggest critics is rallying opposition parties against his government after a new list of citizens excluded 4 million people from a border state in a drive against illegal immigrants.
The draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) is the result of a years-long agitation by residents of the northeastern state of Assam demanding expulsion of the immigrants from Muslim-majority Bangladesh just over the border.
Work on it accelerated under the state and federal governments of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the exclusions from the list released on Monday have given ammunition to opposition parties to band together against Modi’s re-election bid next year.
Mamata Banerjee, the firebrand chief minister of India’s eastern state of West Bengal, accused the BJP of trying to make millions of people stateless for political reasons.
“This can’t be tolerated and that’s why India needs a change, and the change must come in 2019, for the betterment of the people of this country,” Banerjee said at an event in New Delhi.
Outside parliament, her regional All-India Trinamool Congress led a protest by lawmakers from seven political parties, who held placards demanding “Stop this divide and rule policy” and “Why have Indian citizens become refugees in their own country?”
Assam has been racked by waves of violence over the years as residents, including tribal groups, have clashed with both Hindu and Muslim settlers, whom they accuse of plundering resources and taking away jobs.