Days after violent protests rocked several parts of the country, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dared the Centre to implement the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the state over her "dead body". Mamata on Monday led a mega rally in Kolkata and vowed to not implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and CAA in the state, urging supporters to protest in a peaceful manner.
“The BJP is working with anti-social elements to create chaos. I appeal to people to maintain peace and protest in a democratic way. We will continue our agitation till CAA and NRC are withdrawn. They (Centre) will have to implement CAA and NRC in West Bengal over my dead body,” the chief minister said.
Apart from the TMC, Left Front also conducted marches and protests across the state, while the BJP organised a rally in support of the CAA.
Things are worse in Bengal: BJP
The BJP alleged that the ruling TMC has been conniving with "Bangladeshi infiltrators" to spread lawlessness and anti-national activities in the state. The saffron party has been accusing the Mamata government of favouring the minority community and illegal immigrants. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “She has always been in favour of Pakistan and TMC leaders are in liaison with anti-socials to create ruckus”.
Responding to a question that several states are opposing the CAA and the NRC, Ghosh said, “We have seen what happened to those parties and leaders like Chandrababu Naidu and others during the general elections who took her side. In Kerala, the protests have been civil in nature and in Assam the state government had acted promptly to control the situation. But in West Bengal, things are far worse and out of control.”
Ghosh initially met Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, calling for “immediate intervention” in view of the ongoing situation which he alleged to be “internal disturbance and the virtual collapse of the rule of law."
The Governor, terming the TMC rally as “unconstitutional”, had advised Mamata to desist from inflammatory remarks and instead focus on the law and order situation. “Am stunned that in spite of request made, neither Chief Secretary nor Director General of Police has come to brief and update me on the current painful situation in the state. This is surely not acceptable given the enormity of the situation,” he said in a social media post.
Left front targets TMC over rally
The Left Front alleged that the chief minister has been paying only “lip service” to the protest against CAA and is building two refugee detention centers in New Town near Kolkata and Bongaon in North 24 Parganas. The TMC, however, has stated it is for foreign nationals engaged in criminal activities and is not connected with NRC.
“Disgruntled and disillusioned party strongmen from the TMC, for their own benefit, are fuelling tension in the state and resorting to violence”, CPI-M leader Mohammad Salim said. He alleged that the state administration has been allowing the violence to spread as the TMC stands to gain the support of the Muslim voters, while the BJP stands to project itself as the messiah of the Hindus.
The Left has maintained that the concept of human and minority rights is universal in nature and the CAA is against its spirit. Moreover, the citizenship of a country is one’s birth-right and cannot be taken away.