Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today accused the BJP-led central government of “hatching a conspiracy” to drive out Bengalis from Assam by “excluding” their names from the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The NRC of 1951 is being updated in Assam under the supervision of the Supreme Court to identify original residents of the state in order to check illegal migration. Its first draft was published on31 December midnight.

MamataBanerjee cautioned the Centre on the issue, saying it should not “play with fire”. “People have gone there (Assam) to work. In the name of NRC, they are planning to drive them out. I warn the BJP government at the Centre not to play with fire. They should not follow divide and rule policy,” she said while addressing a meeting in Birbhum district.

“This is a conspiracy of the central government to drive out around 1.80 crore people from the state,” Mamata Banerjee alleged. She said she will not tolerate any sort of atrocities upon the Bengali families living in Assam and other parts of the country.

It is a right of every Indian to stay anywhere in the country and work. Bengalies work in Assam, Rajasthan, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and so the men from this states to Bengal. We assure every body who has come from different states that our government will look after them. But it is very unfortunate that from Assam a major conspiracy have been brewing to push back the people who have been earning their livelihood,” she added.

She said people migrate to other states for jobs which is their right. “Slowly, they settle down just like people from other states who are working and staying in West Bengal.”

She claimed the Trinamul Congress is the only party which speaks for the cause of the people.“We will continue speaking for the people and if anything happens to them, we will not keep silent,” she said.The chief minister said that if trouble breaks out in Assam, it will have an effect on Bengal, but added “we will keep the Assamese residing in Bengal close to our bosom”.