Sonoval quoted Mamta’ TMC as “divisive design of the external forces”



Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal hit out at his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee on Saturday, saying there was an “evil design” in her remarks and sending a TMC team to the north-eastern state to destabilise the NRC process.

Banerjee had questioned the transparency of the final NRC draft and alleged that the Centre had resorted to “vote bank and divide and rule policy”.

She had also alleged that the exclusion of over 40 lakh people from the register was an “attempt to evict the Bengalis from Assam” and said those Indian citizens had become “refugees in their own land”.

Sonowal thanked the people of Barak Valley for the “exemplary composure” they exhibited, without falling prey to the “divisive design of the external forces”, an official release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.

He also condemned the alleged move of the external forces to vitiate the peaceful environment in Assam in the name of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the release added.

“Sonowal hailed the restraint and patience shown by the people of Assam, more particularly the residents of Barak Valley, in view of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s inflammatory remarks and her decision of sending a delegation to Barak Valley with an evil design to polarise the society,” it said.

The chief minister also said since the beginning of updating the NRC, some vested interests were hell-bent on destabilising the process by making remarks inimical to the age-old unity prevailing among the people of the Barak and Brahmaputra valleys, the hills and the plains.

He added that “in spite of all evil intentions”, the people of Assam showed “remarkable composure” and strengthened the friendship and camaraderie among themselves.

Sonowal thanked the Bengali-speaking people of the state and different organisations spread across Assam for “unequivocally” registering their protests against the West Bengal chief minister’s “plan of polarising the state”.

“Assam is a land known for its unity since ages. People belonging to different castes, communities, creed and religions symbolise this unity which is unique. Though several attempts were made to disturb this unity, the people of Assam showed resilience and reinforced the state’s unity,” he added.

The people of the Barak and Brahmaputra valleys, the hills and the plains of the state will never be misled by such “evil design”, Sonowal asserted.

He said the people of Assam are guided by the humanitarian and unifying philosophies of singer and lyricist Bhupen Hazarika and Leftist composer-singer Hemanga Biswas.

Referring to the age-old harmonious relations between Assam and West Bengal, he mentioned the common socio-cultural icons such as Ashutosh Mukherjee, Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa and Rabindranath Tagore.

“Therefore, being a chief minister of such a state which has deep-rooted culture and traditions, Mamata Banerjee should not have made such baseless comments which have got communal undertone aimed at disturbing the strong relations between Assam and Bengal,” Sonowal said.

The recent NRC document is only a draft and all genuine Indian citizens whose names did not feature in it need not worry. They would get “ample opportunities” to get their names enrolled through disposal of claims and objections, he said.

The chief minister said Assam has a culture and civilisation which has evolved as a result of melting down of different communities and ethnicities, which are all embracive and receptive.

“Exhibiting unique resilience, the people of Assam have always showed political maturity. Peacefully accepting the publication of the draft NRC is testimony of such political maturity of the people of Assam,” he asserted.

Sonowal said the final draft of the NRC had been prepared under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court with active role of the Registrar General of India and is a document to safeguard the interest of the people of Assam.

“It is a matter of pride and prestige for the people of the state to be a part of the updating of the NRC and witness the complete draft publication in an atmosphere of complete peace and rejoice,” he said.

Banerjee had also sent an eight-member Trinamool Congress team to assess the situation in Barak Valley on August 2 following the publication of the final fraft of the NRC, which is touted as the proof of Assamese identity.

The team was kept under preventive detention at the Silchar airport and was sent back the next day.

The Assam Police has registered five FIRs against Banerjee by the people as well as a lady police official, who was allegedly injured during a scuffle with the TMC delegates at Silchar airport.

Two police complaints were filed against Sonowal by the TMC in Kolkata.

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