Trinamool Congress (TMC) Lok Sabha member Mamata Thakur has lodged a complaint against Shantanu Thakur, leader of the BJP-aligned faction of Matua Mahasangha, alleging that he forged the signature of Binapani Thakur, the 100-year-old matriarch of the Matua community, in a letter to the Chief Minister. The letter sought Mamata Banerjee’s support for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
On February 11, Shantanu Thakur showed a letter where the matriarch purportedly asked the Chief Minister to ensure that Trinamool Congress supports the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to ensure the Matua community, as well as other refugees, get the Indian citizenship.
Tussle for Matua support
The politics surrounding the Matua community is getting murkier by the day. Earlier, BJP leaders were booked for cutting trees near Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally venue in Thakurnagar February 2. The current allegation comes close on the heels of the murder of TMC MLA Satyajit Biswas in which BJP leader Mukul Roy was named in the FIR. BJP has been forced on the backfoot in its quest to get the Matuas’ support in Bangaon constituency. At present, BJP enjoys the support of 24 per cent people in the seat while TMC enjoys 43 per cent support.
According to Shantanu Thakur, the matriarch even purportedly threatened that if Trinamool does not support the bill, they would lose the support of the Matua community. “The letter has been mailed to the chief minister’s office and we are waiting for a reply,” Shantanu had said.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Mamata Thakur said she filed a complaint with the Gaighata police station on February 12. “Boroma is not in a physical condition to sign any document. CCTVs are installed inside and outside the room where she stays, and they show no evidence of her signing the letter and handing it over to Shantanu. The letter and signature are forged. Therefore I decided to file a police complaint,” she said.
State food and supplies minister and Trinamool’s North 24 Parganas district president, Jyotipriya Mullick said, “This is a case of forgery and the law will take its own course.”
Shantanu Thakur was not available for comment. He heads one faction of the Dalit Matua community’s supreme body, the All India Matua Mahasangha. He was instrumental in bringing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Thakurnagar in North 24 Parganas district (headquarters of Matua community) from where Modi launched a poll campaign in West Bengal.
On February 2, Modi met Binapani Thakur and sought her blessings before addressing a public rally in Thakurnagar. He had asked Mamata Banerjee to support the bill in Parliament.
The Matuas are a sect originally belonging to the Namasudra community that was the dominant caste in former East Pakistan.