Updated: February 11, 2021 9:57:08 pm
The process of granting citizenship to refugees under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will begin once the Covid-19 vaccination drive ends, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday.
Addressing a public meeting at Thakurnagar in North 24 Parganas district, which is dominated by the Matua community, Shah asserted that the CAA implementation will not impact the citizenship status of Indian minorities.
Originally from East Pakistan, the Matuas are weaker section Hindus who migrated to India during the Partition and after the creation of Bangladesh. Many of them have been accorded Indian citizenship but a sizeable section of them are yet to get it. A Scheduled Caste group, the community has presence in at least 42 Assembly seats spread across North 24 Parganas, Nadia districts and in some parts of north Bengal.
“The Narendra Modi government had promised in 2018 that it will bring in a new citizenship law for the refugees. We kept the promise after the BJP was voted to power in 2019 and brought in the Citizenship Amendment Act. However, it could not be implemented as the country was hit by the pandemic in 2020,” Shah said.
“As the CAA implementation was delayed, Mamata Didi started saying that we made a false promise. She started opposing the CAA and said she will never allow it,” he said, referring to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “But the BJP always fulfills the promises it makes. As soon as the Covid-19 situation improves and the vaccination drive ends, the process of granting citizenship under CAA will begin.”
“I want to assure the minority community of this country that the CAA will not impact their citizenship status. The CAA has been brought in to grant citizenship to refugees and not to take away citizenship from anyone. The Opposition are misleading the people regarding the CAA,” said Shah.
Shah announced that once a BJP government is formed in West Bengal, it would change the name of Thakurnagar railway station to Shri Dham Railway Station.
Earlier in the day, Shah flagged off a Parivartan Yatra of the BJP from Cooch Behar. Addressing a rally there, he branded the Chief Minister as a “failed administrator” and said the upcoming assembly elections in the state will be a contest between Narendra Modi’s “development model” and Banerjee’s “destruction model”.
He said the BJP’s Parivartan Yatra is not for changing a Chief Minister, MLA or minister but ending infiltration and transforming West Bengal. He said the Yatra is also aimed at ending corruption patronised by “Bua-Bhatija” combine. The BJP has been accusing Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek, the Lok Sabha MP from Diamond Harbour, of “institutionalising corruption”.
He also spoke about the killing of BJP workers and warned that the perpetrators will be thrown behind bars.
Claiming that Banerjee will not remain the Chief Minister after May – by when the assembly elections will be over – Shah said she too would start chanting “Jai Shri Ram” by then. He was referring to the January 23 incident, when Banerjee declined to speak at an official event attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to observe Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birthday after “Jai Shri Ram” chants greeted her.
“This Parivartan Yatra is not for changing a CM, MLA or minister. It is for ending infiltration, it is for ending violence and building ‘Sonar Bangla’, it’s for the transformation of Bengal. You vote the BJP to power in Bengal. Leave alone illegal immigrants, not even a bird from across the border will be allowed to enter the state,” Shah said.
Shah claimed that large-scale infiltration into Coochbehar district, which shares border with Bangladesh, has caused significant changes in its demography.
With PTI inputs
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