Mamata dares Centre over Citizenship Act
KOLKATA, Dec 16
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee kickstarted her mega rally in protest against the amended Citizenship Act in Kolkata on Monday. The rally will stretch over a span of three days.
Taking a strong exception to Banerjee's decision to hit the streets against the amended Citizenship Act, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday urged her to desist from "unconstitutional and inflammatory" actions.
Hitting out at the BJP-led Centre, Banerjee said she would continue mass movement against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) till the amended Act is revoked.
Mamata hit the Kolkata streets while leading a mega protest-march that started from Red Road and arrived at Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the residence of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore where she addressed a rally. "If you want to overthrow my Government, do it. But I will not surrender to you. As long as I am alive, I will not allow the Centre to implement the black Act,’’ she fumed.
Referring to the violence and arsons at Railway stations in south Bengal, the Bengal Chief Minister held the BJP responsible alleging that a few people were paid by the saffron camp to perpetrate violence in the State. "There are some forces from outside the State who are acting as friends of minorities. They have indulged in this violence. Don’t fall into their trap. These forces are stooges of the BJP," she said.
Mamata, who has been at the forefront in opposing CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC), will lead a protest-march in Jadavpur on Tuesday and another one in Howrah on Wednesday.
"Before the amended Act was passed in Parliament, I kept clearly saying it will not be allowed in Bengal. One of the leaders of the BJP in Kolkata threatened to impose President’s Rule in Bengal. I like to tell him first you control your Government in Delhi then think of Bengal,’’ she said.
The Bengal Chief Minister again on Monday urged people to be restrained and organise mass movement in a democratic way. "Do not set trains on fire. Do not attack railway stations and post offices. Do not put up roadblocks. It causes inconvenience to the common people of the State,’’ she appealed.
Earlier, Governor Dhankar stated that the CM should devote her attention to restoring normalcy in the State, where violent protests have been raging over the past three days.
"I am extremely anguished that CM and Ministers are to spearhead rally against CAA, law of the land. This is unconstitutional. I call upon CM to desist from this unconstitutional and inflammatory act at this juncture and devote to retrieve the grim situation," Dhankhar.
In another tweet, the Governor expressed his gratitude to Intellectuals, filmmakers, actors and stage artists who urged protestors to shun violence.
"Gratitude to Intellectuals, filmmakers, actors and stage artistes who urged protestors to shun violence.
Hope others in such category would similarly come forward.
We are Constitutionally obliged to follow law of the land and as Governor enjoined to ensure it and am at it," he tweeted.
On Sunday in a series of tweets, Dhankar said, "A delegation led by Member Parliament and BJP president Dilip Ghosh submitted a representation about the serious situation in the State and called for immediate intervention.
"The situation was termed as internal disturbance and the virtual collapse of rule of law, " he added.
He appealed to everyone including Government to follow law of the land, maintain peace and avoid violence.
"Earlier I had urged the Chief Minister to withdraw the advertisements forthwith indicating NO NRC and CAB. Unfortunately, there has been no response or action. How can a Government spend from public exchequer huge funds to challenge the law of the land! It is unconstitutional, " he stated.
"Taking note of highly disturbing developments in the State that seriously compromise our Constitution values and rule of law, both the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police have been called upon to seen me tomorrow at Raj Bhawan at 10 am and brief me on the situation, " the Governor informed.
Earlier, talking to her Twitter handle, Banerjee said, "A mega rally will be held today in #Kolkata to protest against unconstitutional #CABBill & #NRC. It will begin at 1 pm near the statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar on Red Road & end at Jorasanko Thakurbari."
In another message, she said, " Come, let us all, every section of society, peacefully join this people's movement within the ambit of the law."
The rally began at 1 pm near the base of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's statue.
Ms Banerjee has appealed to people from all sections of the society to participate in the rally for people's interest.
The Trinamool has had a consistent stand against CAB-NRC.
Banerjee had earlier said, "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."
Several TMC leaders are taking part in a seven-km march against the CAA in Kolkata.
The leaders have formed a human chain.
New Indian Express (with ENS and agency inputs)