January 31, 2021 2:44:37 am
The Matua community on Saturday expressed dismay after Union Home Minister Amit Shah cancelled his public meetings in Matua strongholds Thakurnagar and Bongaon in North 24 Parganas district.
To placate the community, BJP national vice-president Mukul Roy and other party leaders rushed to Thakurnagar and promised that the revised schedule of Shah’s trip would be announced in the next 48 hours. Shah, who was scheduled to hold public meetings on Saturday and Sunday, deferred his visit at the eleventh hour with the state BJP citing “unavoidable circumstances” and the “situation in Delhi” as reasons.
Matuas had expected Shah to clear the air on the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Matuas belong to the Scheduled Caste community and trace their ancestry to East Bengal. Many entered West Bengal after Partition. Matua leaders claim that they comprise around 20 per cent of the state population and hold sway in around 35 to 40 Assembly seats.
Roy and other BJP leaders held talks with Matua representatives, including Bongaon BJP MP Shantanu Thakur, in Thakurnagar. When the meeting was on, a group protested the absence of Shah. Several Matuas had come to Thakurnagar from different parts of Bengal.
The TMC accused the BJP of misleading Matuas on the issue of citizenship. In a press conference in Kolkata, state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said, “They (Matuas) are already citizens of the country. But the BJP wooed them during the Lok Sabha polls saying it would grant them citizenship. The BJP got Matua votes and got an MP elected from that area. But Matuas have voter cards. The state government has given them ration cards. They are already citizens. The state government gave them land deeds. If they are not citizens how could they get land deeds? The BJP misled them for votes.”
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