Hardening her stance against the new citizenship law and the proposed NRC (National Register of Citizens), Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that her agitation will continue till the Centre revokes both the new law as well as the NRC.
Calling the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) “anti-people”, Banerjee sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention and deman
ded its immediate revocation. The CM was addressing mediapersons at the Trinamool Congress headquarters on Friday.
Later at a rally in Park Circus, the CM said: “The PM was present in Parliament on the day when the Citizen (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed. But he was absent when the voting took place. So, he also did not support the Bill. He is basically against it. Therefore, I am requesting him to withdraw the Bill for the country’s sake.”
“It is not about any political victory or defeat. It is the matter of our country… Withdraw CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and NRC,” she said in her appeal to Modi.
“The BJP is imposing one political agenda after another under the impression that Indians are peace-loving… under the impression that only it will remain in power,” Banerjee said adding that “this will not happen.”
“Hindustan mazboot hai, majboor nahi hai (India is strong, not helpless),” she added.
Amid the growing crititcism on her Thursday’s remark over the UN-monitored referendum on CAA, Banerjee said she had only suggested that an opinion poll be conducted by impartial experts of the country, the process for which could be observed by the United Nations.
“I am proud of my country… I have full faith on my countrymen. What I had said was that a ‘gana vote’ (mass vote or opinion poll) be conducted by a panel of impartial experts, such as the National Human Rights Commission. It can be observed by the UN,” she said.
Later, Banerjee also said, “To cover up onion price hike and growing unemployment, the BJP came up with this Bill. And those who are protesting the Bill are being labelled as anti-national.”
She added, “How many bullets will you fire? How many jails do you have to arrest us? Do whatever you want, our movement will continue.”
Banerjee also said if former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee would have been there, then he would have never taken up such a step.
The rally also saw the presence of several religious leaders, including Muslim, Christian and Buddhist, and spoke against the NRC.
Writer Joy Goswami also attended the rally. “This Act is an insult to all Indians,” he said.
Meanwhile, Banerjee also held a meeting with her party MLAs and MPs on Friday, following which she told mediapersons that programmes related to the protest against CAA and NRC will continue till January 1 next year. She asked the party leaders to spread the movement to the grassroots-level.
“Not only in Kolkata, we will now spread our movement throughout the state. On December 23, party MPs and MLAs will hold rallies and meetings at every subdivision. On December 24, another rally will be taken out from Swami Vivekananda’s ancestral house to Beleghata Gandhi Bhawan. On December 27, a march will be held from Singur to Tarakeswar. On December 26, TMC’s trade union wing will organise a meeting at Dumdum. The women’s wing of TMC will also take out a rally at Rajarhat. On December 28 and 29, the party will organise rallies in each of the 294 Assembly constituents. On January 1, TMC members will observe ‘Nagarik Odhikar Diwas’ (Citizens’ Rights Day) to mark the Foundation Day of the party,” Banerjee said.
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