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Citizenship Amendment Bill divisive, religion can’t be basis to grant citizenship in secular India: Mamata Banerjee

Reiterating that both National Register of Citizens (NRC) and CAB are two sides of a coin, Banerjee assured the gathering that these will be never allowed in Bengal as long as the TMC is in power.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: December 10, 2019 9:40:56 am
mamata banerjee on citizenship amendment bill, trinamool congress, nrc, kolkata cm, india news, indian express The CM also expressed concern over Railways. (Express photo: Partha Paul)

On a day Union Home minister Amit Shah tabled the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in Lok Sabha, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said citizenship can never be granted on the basis of religion in a secular country like India. “It’s a divisive Bill and should be opposed at any cost. In a secular country like India, citizenship can never be accorded on the basis of religion,” she said during a thanksgiving rally at Kharagpur in Paschim Medinipur district on Monday. Banerjee Monday led the Trinamool Congress’s (TMC) victory rally, thanking the voters in Kharagpur where her party won the recent bypolls.

Reiterating that both National Register of Citizens (NRC) and CAB are two sides of a coin, she assured the gathering that these will be never allowed in Bengal as long as the TMC is in power. “The NRC and CAB will never be allowed in Bengal as long as the TMC is in power. There is no need to worry. They can’t just throw out a legal citizen of this country or turn him/her a refugee,” Banerjee said, claiming that at least 30 people have committed suicide in the state due to panic over the NRC.

“Some people are trying to create panic with their political rhetoric but let me make one thing very clear there will be no NRC and CAB,” she said.

“The government can very well put a clause of green citizenship card holder for those who are now coming to the country. But how come the government ask those who have been living in the country for the last five-six decades to leave the nation? Everybody, who is living in this country, is a legal citizen,” Banerjee said.

Shah, after introducing the Bill in Lok Sabha, said it is not against minorities, but infiltrators.  Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who come from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan facing persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants, but given Indian citizenship, if the Parliament clears the proposed amendments to the six-decade-old Citizenship Act.

The TMC has 22 members in Lok Sabha and 13 in Rajya Sabha.

The CM also expressed concern over Railways. “I dont know what will happen to the Railways. The central government has already started the process to sell the Railways. Don’t worry. I will be with you,” the former railway minister assured the crowd at Kharagpur, a railway township.

This is for the first time the TMC has won the Kharagpur Sadar Assembly seat. Thanking the voters, the Chief Minister said, “You supported us. The government will build an ICCU in Kharagpur hospital. We have sanctioned a total of Rs 15 crore for building community centres at Kharagpur, Karimpur and Kaliagunj (the TMC won all three Assembly seats in the bypolls last month). Besides, better roads would be constructed,” said the Chief Minister.

‘No one should tamper spirit of Constitution’

Paying tributes to the founding fathers of the Constitution, CM Mamata Banerjee Monday said nobody should tamper with its basic spirit. The Constituent Assembly, elected for an undivided India, met for the first time on this day in 1946 in Constitution Hall, now known as Central Hall of Parliament House, in New Delhi. “On this day in 1946, the Constituent Assembly met for the first time. My tribute to the founding fathers who created India’s Constitution. We must never tamper with the basic spirit of what is written in this great document,” she tweeted.

—With PTI

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