‘Mamata Banerjee won’t be able to stop citizenship act’: BJP’s Dilip Ghosh
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, one of the most vocal opponents of the amended citizenship act, said at a press conference that she will not allow the new law to be implemented in her state “under any circumstances”.Updated: Dec 14, 2019 11:15 IST
West Bengal will be the first state where the Citizenship Amendment Act will be implemented, the BJP has said, as chief minister Mamata Banerjee went on a collision course with the Centre over the newly-passed legislation.
Mamata Banerjee is one of the five chief ministers who is campaigning against changes in the citizenship law and declared that they may not implement it.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan was among the first to declare that his state would not implement the new citizenship law which it considers to be “unconstitutional”. Punjab and West Bengal soon followed.
On Friday, chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Kamal Nath and Bhupesh Baghel also issued similar statements against the law, which will grant Indian citizenship to immigrants of faiths other than Islam from the three neighbouring countries on the ground that they came to India due to religious persecution because they are minorities.
The chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bengal unit, Dilip Ghosh on Friday warned Mamata Banerjee that neither she nor her Trinamool Congress party will be able to stop it.
Ghosh’s comments came after Banerjee, one of the most vocal opponents of the amended citizenship act, said at a press conference that she will not allow the new law to be implemented in her state “under any circumstances”.
Banerjee also said the BJP will not be able to bulldoze the states into enacting the new law.
The chief minister also announced a series of protests next week, saying she would hit the streets seeking revocation of the “draconian” act.
“Earlier, she had opposed the abrogation of Article 370, demonetisation but that didn’t stop the Union government from implementing it. In this case, too, the new Citizenship Act would be implemented in the state,” Ghosh said, according to news agency PTI.
“Bengal, for that matter, would be the first state where it would be implemented,” he added.
Ghosh also questioned Banerjee intentions in opposing the citizenship act.
“Is it because she is afraid of losing her vote bank in the state? Let us make one thing very clear, the citizenship act would be implemented in the state, neither Banerjee nor her party would be able to stop it,” he was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.
Mamata Banerjee is bothered about infiltrators but not about Hindu refugees, who have been looking forward to this law for the last several decades, Ghosh alleged.
The BJP’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya also attacked Banerjee, accusing her of “fuelling protests” in her state against the new act.
“Why is Mamata Banerjee not taking action against the infiltrators who are behind the protests in Bengal? She is instigating masses to take law into their hands. If she is so concerned about the infiltrators, why doesn’t she say anything about Hindu refugees?” Vijayvargiya asked.
Violent protests against the newly-enacted citizenship law has spread to West Bengal as agitators resorted to arson and stone pelting in several areas on Friday.
West Bengal’s capital Kolkata saw snap demonstration at several places leading to jams and in Muslim-dominated districts of rural Howrah, Murshidabad, Birbhum, parts of Burdwan and north Bengal mass protest rallies were carried out.
Protesters set the Beldanga railway station complex ablaze in Murshidabad district, bordering Bangladesh, and thrashed railway security personnel.
Agitators also pelted stones at trains at Uluberia and Chengail in Howrah, injuring two drivers and a personnel of the Railway Protection Force (RPF). Additional police forces were rushed to the troubled spots.
The Union home ministry has also said not that implementing the new law wasn’t their call to take.
Senior government officials said that once the Centre issues the notification to bring the new amendments into force, the state governments will have to abide by the law of the land.
“This is the constitutional scheme of things… and a government cannot be run any way other than in accordance with the Constitution,” a senior government official said.
Under the new law, those belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan would not be counted as illegal migrants even if they don’t have documents.
According to these changes, people of these communities will be entitled to get Indian citizenship in six years - instead of 12 years - and the cut off date is December 31, 2014.
Once they apply, they will be insulated from all proceedings for entering the country illegally.