Mamata Banerjee leads mega anti-CAA rally, vows not to allow NRC, citizenship law in Bengal
Kolkata, Dec 16: Protests over the amended Citizenship Act rocked parts of West Bengal and the North East for the third consecutive day on Sunday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit the streets of Kolkata on Monday along with thousands of partymen and vowed not to allow the proposed country-wide NRC and the amended Citizenship Act in West Bengal. The TMC supremo began the protest march from Red Road in heart of the city, and it is set to culminate at Jorasakho Thakur Bari, the residence of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in north Kolkata, around 4 km away.
"We will never allow NRC and CAA in Bengal. No one will be ousted from the state. We believe in coexistence of all religions, caste and creed," Banerjee said as she read out an 'oath' for her party workers. "All of us are citizens of this country, no one can take that away from us," she said.
For three consecutive days, Banerjee, who has been at the forefront in opposing the NRC and the citizenship law, will conduct mega rallies crisscrossing the city and neighbouring Howrah in protest against the law.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has dubbed the rallies as "unconstitutional and inflammatory act" and has urged the chief minister to devote time to retrieve the grim situation. The state has seen several incidents of arson and vandalisation in the past few days by people protesting against the law.
Internet services were shut in West Bengal's six districts -- Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and parts of South 24 Parganas -- as the state convulsed with violence for the third successive day despite Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's appeal for calm.
Hitting out at the Trinamool Congress dispensation over advertisements against the NRC and the citizenship law, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said it is unconstitutional and ahead of government can't use public money for such campaigns. Incidents of violence, loot and arson were reported from Nadia, Birbhum, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Howrah districts, police said.
In Amdanga area of North 24 Parganas and Nadia's Kalyani, agitators blocked thoroughfares, setting logs on fire. Shops were also ransacked and people burned tyres in Deganga in North 24 Parganas. Train services were hit in South 24 Paraganas as protesters blocked tracks near Nungi and Akra stations, which were also ransacked. Similar protests were reported from Domjur of Howrah district, and parts of Burdwan and Birbhum, with agitators taking out rallies and raising slogans against the Modi government. In Malda district, protestors ransacked Bhaluka railway station and staged a road and rail blockade at Sagardighi.
The cost of damage to railway property assessed so far during the protest in Kharagpur division is over Rs 15.77 crore till Saturday, officials said.
The West Bengal chief minister has directed officials at Coochbehar and Jalpaiguri, two districts near Assam, to ensure supply of food and water to the passengers stranded due to the blockades.