Addressing a rally after leading a mega 4-km-long protest march through the serpentine roads of this Himalayan town, Banerjee said the Centre is trying to push the CAA only in non-BJP ruled states.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who took her fight against the CAA and the proposed NRC to the Darjeeling hills on Wednesday, sought clarifications from Union home minister Amit Shah on clauses of the new law, even as she accused the Centre of spreading lies on the issue.
Addressing a rally after leading a mega 4-km-long protest march through the serpentine roads of this Himalayan town, Banerjee said the Centre is trying to push the CAA only in non-BJP ruled states. She claimed that all states except West Bengal have attended the meeting on the National Population Register (NPR) in New Delhi due to fear of the BJP-led Union government.
“Every day the Union home minister is giving new sermons. Yesterday, he said that we (opposition parties) are misleading people. I would like to ask him to clarify whether a person will be declared foreigner first and then allowed to apply for citizenship under the CAA,” Banerjee said, addressing the rally in Hindi.
“The Centre is saying that there is no need for documents for NPR, then why are they asking about date and place of birth of parents. The Centre is actually planning to make two lists — one for those who would submit documents and another for those who wouldn’t,” she added. Reiterating that the CAA, the NPR and the NRC won’t be allowed in West Bengal, Banerjee said before forcing any citizen out of the state, the BJP “has to throw her out” first.
“Due to the NRC in Assam, lakhs of Gorkhas have been rendered homeless. We will not allow that to happen in Darjeeling as long as I am here,” she told the rally in Chowkbazar area of the city after leading the march that began at Bhanu Bhakta Bhavan near Mall.
Banerjee’s comments come a day after Shah accused the opposition parties of “misleading” people on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and said that the law will not be scrapped despite protests over it. Banerjee said that agitations must continue till the contentious law is revoked by the central government.
“Suddenly after 73 years of Independence, we have to prove that we are Indian citizens. The BJP does not have the rights to determine our citizenship. Do we have to wear BJP’s amulet to prove our citizenship?” she asked. The TMC supremo also slammed the saffron party for making references to Pakistan, which she said is a ploy to divert public attention from issues like economic slowdown and growing unemployment.
“Are you people (BJP) Indians or ambassadors of Pakistan? If someone protest against them, they will brand them Pakistani. If someone says we don’t have industries, they will say go to Pakistan,” she told a thundering crowd. Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency, which encompasses both the hills and parts of the plains including Siliguri, has been with the BJP since 2009.
Banerjee, who has been at the forefront of the anti-CAA agitations, led ten protest marches and addressed six rallies in various parts of the state since the issue snowballed into a major political firestorm last December. Her government has also decided to bring in a resolution against the CAA in the assembly on January 27, following such moves by Kerala and Punjab.