TMC protests against CAA in Matua stronghold of Bongaon

The Matuas trace their ancestry to East Bengal, as many of them entered West Bengal after Partition and after the formation of Bangladesh.
Shantanu Thakur and Biswajit Das
Shantanu Thakur and Biswajit Das

KOLKATA: A day after 14 people were given citizenship certificates for the first time under Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Matua community belonging to of several TMC-backed outfits in Bongaon protested against the move.

The Matuas trace their ancestry to East Bengal, as many of them entered West Bengal after Partition and after the formation of Bangladesh. The community forms the second-largest SC population of West Bengal.

With the BJP claiming that they will provide citizenship to the Matua community, the TMC has told them not to apply for certificates under CAA. The Bongaon seat has a predominantly Matua population which will vote on May 20.

In Bongaon, BJP MP Shantanu Thakur is pitted against TMC’s Biswajit Das. This year, Banerjee has fielded a BJP turncoat who switched to TMC. He was earlier MLA of Bagda constituency when he was with the BJP.

Sources said TMC has an edge over BJP as most of the people are disillusioned about the implementation of CAA. The BJP won the seat in 2019 and looks to retain it.

Home Minister Amit Shah has visited Bongaon several times and told the people that Banerjee was lying and that the Matuas won’t face any problem while applying for citizenship under CAA.

According to Matuas who are TMC supporters, despite CAA implementation two months ago, complexities surrounding it persist, leaving many Matuas hesitant to apply online. They voice unease over the need for documents.

Monisha Singh, a member of the TMC-backed All India Matua Mahasangha, said, “Where will we get documents proving our citizenship? When our parents fled, they had nothing but the clothes they wore.” The government should issue a new notification with revised rules that eliminate for the need for such documents.”

The CAA, enacted in March, aims to grant Indian nationality to the persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

Senior TMC leaders said that Matuas held onto their dreams of finding a safe haven, free from persecution and discrimination. When CAA was introduced, it appeared to signal a new beginning, offering hope for citizenship and acceptance. However, as the dust settled, the euphoria gave way to confusion, disappointment and apprehension.

The seat is reserved for SC candidates. In the 2021 assembly polls, the BJP got six of the seven assembly seats falling under this LS constituency, and TMC one. One of the BJP MLAs later switched to TMC.

Roots in Bangladesh

The Matuas trace their ancestry to East Bengal, as many of them entered West Bengal after Partition and the formation of Bangladesh. The community forms the second-largest SC population of West Bengal.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com