KOLKATA: A sit-in demonstration in Kolkata organised by Trinamool Congress on Tuesday under the banner of Matua Mahasangha, a structured apex body of the Hindu refugee sect, against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill triggered a division among its followers as the ruling party’s former MP from Bongaon Mamata Bala Thakur, the daughter-in-law of Binapani Devi alias Boro Ma, a matriarch of the religious reformation movement, said she had no idea about the protest event.
"The state food and supplies minister Jyotipriya Mullick called me on Sunday evening and asked me to join the demonstration. But I was not told that the protest programme will be organised under the banner of Matua Mahasangha,’’ said Mamata.
Mullick, however, said there was no split among the Matuas who support the ruling party. "She supported our demonstration. She could not join because of her health issues,’’ he said.
A sharp division among the Hindu refugee sect triggered a jolt to Trinamool Congress as it failed to retain the Bongaon constituency in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. BJP’s candidate Shantanu Thakur, Boro Ma’s grandson, bagged victory from the constituency located in India—Bangladesh border region.
Matua community comprising scheduled caste group, who had migrated from Bangladesh during the Partition, has always been important to political parties in Bengal. Since 2009, the Matuas were known to be Trinamool Congress supporters which had fielded members of Boro Ma’s family in elections. However, the family has been divided before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections over its political leanings.
When the participants in the sit-in demonstration event protested against CAB, their counterparts at Thakurnagar, the place where Boro Ma’s house is located and which is known as the headquarters of Matua Mahasangha, alleged that the demonstrators were against the interest of the sect.
"The CAB will address our long-standing demand for citizenship. We welcome the Centre’s decision. Leaders of Matua Mahasangha are now in New Delhi. I doubt the authenticity of the demonstration and identity of those who are claiming to be spokespersons and leaders of Matua Mahasangha," said Nibaran Mandal standing in front of the temple of Harichand Thakur, the founder of Matua sect of Hinduism, at Thakurnagar.