CM Mamata Banerjee to Hit the Streets as TMC Takes Out Mega Anti-CAA Rally in Kolkata Today
Agitators set six private buses on fire at Kona Expressway and completely damaged the Sankrail railway station. Train services were affected in South-Eastern section.
Mushidabad: Charred remains of a bus set on fire by protestors agitating against NRC and CAB, outside Beldanga station in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. (PTI Photo)
Kolkata: The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal will take out a mega rally in Kolkata on Monday to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The rally, which would begin at 1 pm, would see chief minister Mamata Banerjee leading from the front against the “unconstitutional” Citizenship Act, TMC said in a tweet.
Mega rally in Kolkata today against CAB-NRC pic.twitter.com/AzPcOWbr6l— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) December 16, 2019
On Sunday too, the TMC had taken out rallies across the state on Sunday, protesting against the amended Citizenship Act.
"We want this divisive Citizenship Act to be immediately scrapped. Our state government has already said that it will not be implemented in Bengal, so we appeal to the people not to take law into their hands, and protest peacefully," senior TMC leader and education minister Partha Chatterjee said.
Protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act continued in various parts of Bengal for the third consecutive day on Sunday with violence reported from areas such as North 24 Parganas, Birbhum, Nadia and Howrah districts.
Banerjee warned stern action against those found involved in violent protests in the state.
“Please don’t take law into your own hands. We will not tolerate those who will destroy government or private property. The state administration will not tolerate inconvenience to the general public and miscreants will be punished as per law,” Banerjee said, expressing concern over damage caused to public property at Beldanga and Sankrail railway stations.
She added that the West Bengal government would not allow Citizenship Amendment Act to be implemented in the state.
“I would like to assure that there is nothing to worry as we will not allow Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Registrar of Citizenship (NRC) in Bengal. If you want to protest against the CAA and NRC, do so peacefully. Please don’t do in a manner that will create trouble for the general public.”
Kolkata Mayor, Firhad Hakim, also condemned the protests. “I don’t support such acts. We want them to maintain the law and order situation in the state as general public is facing a lot of inconvenience due to national highway and train bandh,” he said.
On Sunday morning, agitators set six private buses on fire at Kona Expressway and completely damaged the Sankrail railway station. Train services were affected in South-Eastern section due to the incident.
Murshidabad’s Bendanga continued to burn for the second day as angry protestors set three fire tender vehicles on fire. They also put up road blockades and raised slogans against BJP and their plans to implement the CAA and NRC in Bengal.
As panic gripped the Murshidabad district, protestors went on rampage on Friday night by setting Beldanga railway station on fire and even tried to snatch weapons from RPF officials
Gauri Shankar Ghosh, BJP President, South Murshidabad, said, “People are living in fear. Today morning, I inquired and found that some families fled their respective villages in South Murshidabad and took shelter in Devipur and in Sagarpara area.”
Congress MLA from Beldanga, Safiujjaman Seikh said some people have left their houses due to panic in some parts of Murshidabad. “I would like to request the TMC leaders to organise their protest rally in a sensible manner to avoid any law and order situation in the state.”
The law seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan fleeing religious persecution there. On December 4, the Union Cabinet passed the CAB in their meeting and it was passed in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The CAA is the long pending demand of the refugees (majority of them are Matuas) who entered India from Bangladesh after 1971. They have voting rights in Bengal, but as per the Citizenship Act, they are not Indians because as per Article 6 of the Constitution, anybody who entered India from East or West Pakistan after July 19, 1948 must apply for citizenship and the year 1971 automatically falls under this category.
With its passage, people in Murshidabad were first to hit the street as majority of them (nearly 67 per cent) lives in the district.
In West Bengal, nearly 22 per cent Muslims lives in Kolkata city while 67 per cent lives in Murshidabad district. The second and third highest Muslim population lives in North Dinajpur (51 per cent) and Malda (52 per cent) respectively.
In North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur, the Muslim population is 49.92 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. West Bengal accounts for the second highest Muslim population in India which is nearly 2.47 crore, who forms nearly 27.5 per cent of the state’s population.
Similar protests were also witnessed in Kolkata, Howrah and in East Midnapore. In these places, protestors blocked the railway tracks, damaged government properties and attacked truck drivers at National Highways.
In the East Midnapore, BJP General Secretary Sayantan Basu’s car was attacked by protesters. He was rescued by the district police.
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