KOLKATA: Union Home minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced that the Centre will start giving refugees including the Matuas citizenship by implementing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act once the Covid-19 vaccination is over across the country
While addressing the much-awaited rally at Matuas’ headquarters at Thakurnagar in North 24 Parganas’ Bongaon, Shah hinted that the CAA’s implementation would not begin before the upcoming Assembly elections.
"West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been misleading refugees who migrated from Bangladesh due to religious persecution saying our citizenship promise before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was a false one. I want to give her a message that what we promise, we execute in reality. I want to assure the Matuas that the process of giving citizenship will start once the coronavirus vaccination is over in the country," said Shah.
Hitting out at the Bengal CM, Shah further said, "Mamata didi was very happy after my visit was cancelled. She started misleading people that I will not come here again. I am making it clear that I will be visiting Matuas’ place on several occasions in near future. She is saying that her government will not allow CAA in Bengal. But I want to tell you she will not be in a position to stop us from implementing CAA here because by that time she will not be the CM of West Bengal and her party will be overthrown."
Matuas, a Dalit community, has always been the target of political parties as they dominate in least 36 Assembly constituencies spreading from north to south Bengal. The BJP secured en bloc support of the community in 2019 general elections promising them citizenship.
In a bid to retain Matuas’ vote-share in the saffron camp’s fold, Shah made a slew of promises, including tourist centre at Thakurnagar, pension for refugees, welfare schemes and new name of Thakurnagar railway station, if BJP comes to power in Bengal.
Assuring the Muslim electorates, considered as the ruling Trinamool Congress’s support base, Shah said there would be no clause in the CAA that takes away the citizenship of minorities.
Eyeing the vote bank of Rajbanshi tribe, who form around 30% of total electorates in the northern part of the state, Shah announced a new Narayani Sena Battalion in the paramilitary forces and the training centre will be named after Veer (brave) Chila Roy (the prince and younger brother of king Nara Narayan of Koch dynasty).
Shah was referring to Narayani Sena that existed in the erstwhile Cooch Behar kingdom.
Shah announced that after wresting power in Bengal, the BJP-led government will set up a Rajbanshi cultural centre, a 500 crore project, and a temple in the name of Panchanan Burma, a Rajbanshi cleric and leader of the community.
Reiterating the saffron camp’s Hindutva rhetoric, Shah hit out at the Bengal CM and said, "Mamata didi gets angry if Jai Shri Ram slogan is raised. Where should the slogan be raised? Definitely here, not in Pakistan. She (Mamata) will have to raise the same slogan by the time the upcoming Assembly elections are over."
Reacting to Shah, Mamata Banerjee said her government would not allow CAA in Bengal. Without naming the Union Home Minister, Banerjee, while addressing a gathering in Kolkata, said, "He is coming from Delhi and threatening people of Bengal physically. He is crossing his limits. We will not allow CAA in Bengal as the refugees are already citizens of the country."