At a rally in Darjeeling on Thursday, 11 April, BJP President Amit Shah said, “We have promised in our manifesto that once Narendra Modi forms government once again, we will implement National Register of Citizens in the entire country. We will remove every single infiltrator from the country. And all the Hindu and Buddhist refugees; we will find each of them, give them Indian citizenship and make them residents here.”
In its manifesto, the BJP has said, “We are committed to work towards finding a permanent political solution to the issue of Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri, Terai and Dooars region.”
“We will ensure implementation of NRC in the entire country. We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs: Shri @AmitShah #NaMoForNewIndia,” later tweeted the official handle of Bhartiya Janta Party as well.
“Unbelievable! Is Amit Shah threatening a mass exodus of all Atheists, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Jews, Agnostics from India? This could cause riots among millions of people as NRC is a heavily flawed process of determining who is an ‘infiltrator’,” tweeted the YouTube Journalist Dhruv Rathee among others in response to Shah’s statement.
The NRC — or the National Register of Citizens — in Assam is a document meant to contain names of all “genuine citizens” in the state. The NRC counts as citizens only people who can prove that they were residents of India before March 24, 1971, as well as their descendants.
If the NRC is extended to the entire country, as Shah and BJP speak and stand for, the registry would spark uncertainty among the 180 million Muslims who represent more than 13% of the population.
The Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency goes to polls on April 18. The BJP has fielded Raju Singh Bisht from the seat.