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Won’t stop till all refugees get citizenship: Shah in Kolkata

Kolkata, Mar 1: Union Home Minister Amit Shah asserted on Sunday that the Centre would not stop until all refugees in the country are granted citizenship under the amended Citizenship Act and accused the opposition, including the Trinamool Congress, of misguiding refugees and minorities over the new law.

Not a single person will lose citizenship because of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), he said.

Addressing his first public rally in Kolkata after the 2019 general elections, Shah said, “The opposition is terrorising the minorities. I assure every person from the minority community that the CAA only provides citizenship, does not take it away. It won’t affect your citizenship.”

“The opposition parties are spreading canards that refugees will have to show papers but this is absolutely false. You don’t have to show any paper. We will not stop until all refugees are granted citizenship,” Shah told the public.

The Union minister accused West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee of “fuelling riots” during anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests last year when trains and railway stations were burnt, and challenged her to stop the implementation of the CAA.

His comments came against the backdrop of the communal violence in northeast Delhi which was sparked by protests over the amended citizenship law and has left 42 dead and over 200 injured.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought CAA to give citizenship to the refugees, but Mamata Banerjee’s TMC and other opposition parties were opposing it.

With the crucial 2021 state elections in mind, Shah also accused Banerjee of opposing citizenship to Dalits, while referring to the backward Matua community, which with a population of around 30 lakh is a deciding factor in around 40 Assembly seats.

The Matua sect is a backward community of refugees who migrated to West Bengal during 1950s from erstwhile East Pakistan due to religious persecution.

“I want to ask her (Mamata Banerjee), what harm did Dalits do to you? Why are you protesting when we want to give them citizenship? While protesting and opposing the CAA, you’re also opposing the social reforms of (Matua sect founders) Harichand Thakur and Guruchand Thakur,” Shah said.

Listing out the priorities of the Narendra Modi government, Shah said that in its second term, the dispensation is focusing on of national security along with welfare policies.

“Our government has removed Article 370 from Kashmir and fulfilled the dream of Syama Prasad Mookerjee… Within a few months, a grand Ram temple will come up in Ayodhya, for which we have been waiting for 500 years,” he said.

Targeting the Trinamool Congress government in the state, Shah expressed anguish over the “worsening” law-and-order situation in the state and exuded confidence that the BJP will come to power in West Bengal in 2021 with a two-third majority.

One the BJP is voted to power, a son of the soil would become the chief minister and end dynastic politics, he said.

At the rally, Shah virtually set in motion the BJP”s campaign for the upcoming civic body elections and also launched the party’s ”Aar Noi Annay” (no more injustice) campaign for the next year’s assembly elections.

“With this ”Aar Noi Annay” slogan, we will change the government in the state and usher in Sonar Bangla (golden Bengal). If you give five years to Narendra Modi, we will turn Bengal into Sonar Bangla,” he said.

He accused the TMC government of not allowing “central welfare policies to be implemented in the state” and misusing central funds. Shah also alleged that West Bengal’s debt has nearly doubled despite a substantial increase in central funds under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“There is a debt of Rs 3.75 lakh crore on Bengal. The communist government left at Rs 1.92 lakh crore, and Mamata Didi made it even bigger. The central funds have become fodder to corruption in the Mamata Banerjee government,” Shah said.

Hitting out at the state government over the “worsening” law-and-order situation, he said once the BJP is voted to power neither criminals and nor those who have looted public money will be spared.

The TMC leadership was quick to return the fire, asking Shah to apologise for “failing” to save innocent lives during the Delhi violence.

“Rather than coming and preaching in Bengal, Amit Shah you should have explained and apologised for failing to save more than 50 innocent lives in Delhi Violence right under your nose,” TMC leader and the chief minister’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee said in a tweet.

“Mr Shah, Bengal is better off without bigotry and hatred that the BJP is trying to spread,” he said.

BJP workers raise ‘goli maro…’

Press Trust of India

Kolkata, Mar 1: A section of BJP workers on Sunday raised the incendiary “goli maro…” (shoot the traitors) slogan on their way to a rally addressed by Union home minister Amit Shah.

Carrying party flags, the group were heard shouting the slogan en route to the Shahid Minar ground.

When contacted, a senior officer of the Kolkata Police declined to comment anything on the incident, but said “strict action will be taken against anybody trying to disrupt the law and order situation in the city”.

The home minister was on a day-long visit to Kolkata.

There has been a controversy over raising of such slogans during BJP rallies during Delhi assembly polls and protests in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) due to allegations that they provoke violence.