Afghans given certificates, BJP making false claims on CAA: Mamata Banerjee | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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Afghans given certificates, BJP making false claims on CAA: Mamata Banerjee

May 18, 2024 02:40 PM IST

Mamata Banerjee accused the BJP of making false claims to secure the support of Bengal’s Hindu Dalit voters of whom many came from Bangladesh as refugees

West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson Mamata Banerjee on Friday claimed that some of those who received citizenship certificates under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) from the Union government in Delhi on Wednesday are Afghan nationals, and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of making false claims to secure the support of Bengal’s Hindu Dalit voters of whom many came from Bangladesh as refugees.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee during an election campaign in Medinipur on Saturday. (ANI Photo)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee during an election campaign in Medinipur on Saturday. (ANI Photo)

“You must have seen an advertisement in some newspapers today. It is made to appear like somebody’s statement. The advertisement doesn’t have the name of the campaigner, which is mandatory even for a campaign leaflet. You see the photos of some people thanking (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and the Union home minister (Amit Shah) for enforcing CAA. This is all lies. It is fake,” Banerjee said at a Lok Sabha campaign rally at the Jhargram constituency.

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Around 300 people were given citizenship certificates on Wednesday. The Centre did not officially declare the identity of these people.

Banerjee said: “My Matua brothers and sisters should not trust this advertisement. The moment you apply for citizenship, you will be marked as foreigners. Among those in the published photo, some are Afghans who have nothing to do with Bengal. When our children go to USA or other countries, they get something like a green card after spending five to 10 years. Something similar has been given to these Afghans.”

“It’s a lie but those who see the photo (in the advertisement) will think that if so many people are thanking (the PM) it must be genuine. it’s not. It’s politics before the elections. After the polls, you will be driven out and put in jail. Don’t trust Modi. Their words have no guarantee,” said the chief minister.

Ever since the campaign for the seven-phase polls started, Banerjee has been speaking against CAA, especially in regions where the Dalit Namasudra and the Matua communities have significant presence. A vast majority of these people or their ancestors came from East Pakistan during Partition or the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. In the 2019 polls, BJP promised to enforce CAA for these people, and it was finally done in March this year.

In Bengal, the Namasudras and Matuas have so far avoided filing online applications since most of them don’t have Bangladeshi documents to prove their foreign origin, which is mandatory under the CAA rules. Sizeable pockets of these communities are located in the constituencies that go polls in the last three phases.

Jhargram constituency is reserved for scheduled tribes (ST). The BJP wrested the seat from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in 2019.

At her next rally at Ghatal, Banerjee said: “CAA is a trap. Ask Modi and Shah to apply. They will become foreigners the moment they do so.”

Addressing the tribal voters at Jhargram, Banerjee said the BJP will enforce the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Uniform Civil Code (UCC) if it wins the ongoing polls, but these will be revoked if the INDIA coalition comes to power.

“They (BJP) are telling lies out of desperation to win the elections. After the elections, they will enforce NRC and UCC. Hindus, tribal people, scheduled caste communities, minorities will all lose their identities. Modi will not allow any more elections. This will be the nation’s last election,” she said.

“Where will you find democracy when that happens? Where will you raise your demands? We (TMC) are in the INDIA alliance in Delhi (national level) but not in Bengal. If our INDIA alliance wins, we will revoke CAA, NRC and UCC. We will consider all demands of the tribal people,” Banerjee added.

Bengal BJP chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said: “People don’t believe a word the chief minister utters. CAA is a reality. It has been enforced. There are some legal glitches that will be overcome in no time.”

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