KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said a person's political views cannot be ascertained by his or her clothes, hitting back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comment that those indulging in violence over the citizenship law could be identified by their attires.
Alleging that the BJP government has failed to provide "roti, kapda aur makaan" to the people, she claimed that it is trying to snatch the rights of 10 lakh people via the NRC and amended Citizenship Act.
"The country is burning and they are talking about clothes. Miscreants and commoners cannot be differentiated on the basis of attire or food habits.
Clothes do not determine a person's political views," the Trinamool Congress supremo said at a protest rally - her second one since Monday.
Her comment came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a Jharkhand rally on Sunday said, "People who are setting fire (to property) can be seen on TV. They can be identified by the clothes they are wearing."
Violent protests against the amended Citizenship Act has been raging in several states of the country including West Bengal for the past few days.
Agitators had set fire to trains, railway station complexes and buses in different areas of the state.
Banerjee claimed that the Centre stopped long distance railway services in West Bengal over "one or two minor incidents" of violence.
"We have arrested more than 600 people (for creating trouble). I would request the railways and the central government to resume services," the chief minister said.
The arson and vandalism could be the handiwork of the BJP also, she said and urged the people not to fall prey to any provocation.
"Violence and arson will not be tolerated; police will take action against the culprits. These violent protests are undermining the very purpose of the protest," she said.
Blaming the Modi government for the country's worsening economic situation, she claimed that it has failed to provide the basic needs of a person like "roti, kapda aur makaan" but is planning to declare legal citizens as illegal immigrants.
Alleging that the BJP is trying to provide citizenship to 10,000 people and snatch the rights of nearly 10 lakh people through the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the amended Citizenship Act, the TMC chief said she will not allow implementation of any of the two in West Bengal.
"You (BJP) are saying you will provide citizenship to those who have come to this country till December 14, 2014. What will happen to those who are already citizens?" Banerjee said.
Questioning why do people need to produce their proof of citizenship even after 73 years of independence, Banerjee said many people do not have birth certificates as there was no institutional delivery years ago.
Alleging that the BJP was instigating trouble in the country, she said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in a hurry in Parliament.
"They did not obey the Constitution while passing the Bill. They did not even inform MPs about the date of passing the Bill. So many MPs were not present in the Lok Sabha. But we were prepared for the Rajya Sabha. All our MPs attended," the chief minister said.