West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that as long as she is alive the Citizenship (Amendment) Act will not be implemented in the state and there will be no detention centre in it.
None can take away the rights of the people of the country, like citizenship, the Trinamool Congress supremo said at a programme at Naihati in North 24 Parganas district.
Lending her support to the students’ protest across the country against the amended Citizenship Act, she wondered why they cannot have the right to protest when they can vote to elect a government on turning 18 .
“Why can’t students protest against a draconian law? The Centre is taking action against protesting students and is rusticating them from universities”, she said.
Banerjee, who has held five rallies in Kolkata in 11 days against the CAA, said “As long as I am alive CAA will not be implemented in Bengal. No one has to leave the country or the state. There will not be any detention centre in Bengal,” Banerjee said.
Hitting out at the proposed national register of citizens, she questioned why people will have to prove their citizenship once again. “Citizenship means having your name in the voter’s list, citizenship means having papers like driving licence and bank document. Then why will people have to submit fresh proof of their citizenship once more?”
Referring to the West Bengal government’s decision to put on hold the National Population Register, Banerjee said “We did not realise their (BJP’s) intent initially. But when we got to know that it is linked to singling out bonafide citizens of the country, we stopped the exercise in Bengal. We will not do anything which will be pose a danger to people.”
Continuing her tirade, the TMC supremo said it was ironical that people vote as citizens and then have to submit fresh proof of their citizenship. “You (The BJP-led government at the Centre) will ask them to stand in queue again! What about proving your (BJP) own citizenship ?”
Banerjee, who had opposed Aadhar card, said “Two years ago they (Centre) had said the card will be required for getting phone connection, for opening bank account and a sum of Rs 6,000 crore was spent for the exercise.
“Now all of a sudden they have come up with the new theory that something like the Aadhaar card will not work. Do they think people will follow their diktat, do they think people will bow down to their frequent change of whims?” Banerjee said and asked people to enroll their names in the voters list by January 15.
Iterating that no detention camps will be allowed in West Bengal, Banerjee who is one of the most vocal critics of the BJP, said “Your (Centre) writ runs in Delhi. son’t think the state will fall in line.”
Alleging that the Centre is trying to create divisions among other backward caste communities, Banerjee said it is pitting Matuas, Namasudras, scheduled caste and scheduled tribes against one another.
She said while the state had earlier recognised 94 refugee colonies on the state’s lands, the West Bengal government has recently decided to give official recognition to all refugee colonies on private and central government lands.
“They want to create division among Namasudra, Matua, Rajbanshi and Kamtapuri communities, they want to divide Bengalis and non-Bengalis, they want to divide Hindu, Muslim,Sikh, Christians and Buddhists. We won’t let that happen,” she said.
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