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Union minister, disgruntled BJP MLAs attend Matua community meeting

The meeting, attended by nearly 40 leaders of Matua community, was chaired by Union MoS Shantanu Thakur.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: January 17, 2022 4:02:47 am
Shantanu Thakur (Twitter: Shantanu Thakur)

Disgruntled BJP MLAs belonging to the Matua community in West Bengal on Sunday met community leaders at Thakurbari in North 24 Parganas district where they decided to put renewed pressure on the Central government for implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). CAA was brought by the BJP government in 2019 to grant citizenship to religious minorities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who had to flee facing persecution.

The meeting, attended by nearly 40 leaders of Matua community, was chaired by Union MoS Shantanu Thakur. Thakur, a Matua community leader, had recently exited from all the Bengal BJP WhatsApp groups, amid growing dissension in the party over the constitution of the party’s state unit committees. At least nine BJP MLAs, most of them Matuas, had exited from the party’s WhatsApp groups recently. Two days ago, the BJP dissolved all its state unit committees as dissension grew.

BJP MLAs Ashok Kirtania, Subrata Thakur and Mukutmani Adhikari, all belonging to the Matua community, also attended Sunday’s meeting. While most of the leaders said it was a regular monthly meet of All India Matua Mahasangha, sources said that it was convened on an urgent basis.

“We have been fighting for the CAA for over 20 years now. It is not just for the Matuas but for all the refugees. Obviously, we will keep appealing to the Centre for its implementation. If the implementation of CAA gets delayed further, we will have to fight for it… All the Matuas and refugees are united. We are keeping a close eye on what the Centre is doing. We have big hopes from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah,” BJP MLA Mukutmani Adhikari said after the meeting.

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“Till the time we don’t get citizenship, we will continue this movement, maybe with more intensity if need be,” Adhikari, who is also the district president of All India Matua Mahasangha (Nadia South), said.

Ahead of the Assembly elections in West Bengal last year, BJP leaders had promised to implement the contentious citizenship law. Home Minister Amit Shah too had assured the Matua community of implementing the CAA.

The Centre, however, is yet to notify the rules of the amended law. January 9 was the third extended deadline for the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to notify the CAA, 2019, rules.

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