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Mamata plans protest rallies across Bengal

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on December 13, 2019 Published on December 13, 2019

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reiterated on Friday that the amended Citizenship Act will “never” be implemented in West Bengal. The CM said her party will organise consecutive protests rallies across the state beginning December 16.

Banerjee joins the list of non-BJP ruled State CMs like Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Chattisgarh and Kerala who have claimed that there will be no implementation of the new Citizenship Act.

“We will never allow NRC exercise and Citizenship Act in Bengal. We will not implement the amended Act, even though it has been passed in Parliament. The BJP can’t just bulldoze the states to implement it,” Banerjee said adding that she will postpone her scheduled visit to Delhi later this month.

The Trinamool Congress supremo has also called for a meeting of her party’s core committee on December 20 to finalise a strategy on how to deal with the new Citizenship Act and mobilise support against it. Banerjee herself is expected to hit the streets and lead protest rallies.

“@MamataOfficial (Banerjee’s official Twitter handle) announces mega rally against #CitizenshipAmendmentBill2019 on December 16 in #Kolkata. The rally will begin near the statue of Dr BR Ambedkar and end at Jorasanko. Didi will walk in the rally,” the Trinamool Congress tweeted.

Legal Recourse

Earlier in the day, Trinamool Congress MP, Mahua Moitra had moved Supreme Court challenging the legality of the amendments in the Citizenship Act.

Banerjee and her party have been vehemently opposing any amendment to the Citizenship Act as “unconstitutional”. Party law-makers have been reasoning against any change in the Act in both the Upper and Lower House of the Parliament.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and by Lok Sabha on Monday. It will grant Indian citizenship to immigrants of any persecuted religious minority from the three neighbouring countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Under the new law, those belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities will be granted citizenship.

Some Muslim organisations, from Bengal, have also threatened to move court challenging the Act.

Protests in Bengal

Meanwhile, protests have erupted in several parts of the State. In the city, a number of Muslim organisations came together to organise a peaceful protest march in central parts of the city. This came after there was clashes between the Congress and BJP supporters over the Citizenship Act in central parts of the city.

However, reports of violence have come in from some the districts. The Beldanga railway station complex in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district was set on fire and RPF personnel there attacked, sources say. In another such incident, agitators blocked tracks at the Uluberia railway station in Howrah district, vandalised the complex and some trains, injuring a driver. The blockade started around 3.22 pm.

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Published on December 13, 2019
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