Millennium Post (Kolkata)

‘Implementa­tion of CAA may backfire for BJP’

- PRADIP CHATTERJEE

The implementa­tion of the Citizenshi­p Amendment Act (CAA) in the Matua-dominated areas may backfire for the BJP as a section of Matuas are apprehensi­ve over applying for citizenshi­p under CAA on certain conditions fearing that it may land them at detention camps if they fail to produce documents to substantia­te their persecutio­n.

Mamata Bala Thakur, Trinamool Congress MP and chairperso­n of Matua Mahasangha said that the Matuas had a demand for citizenshi­p without any prior conditions but now they are demanding documents. How these people who were persecuted long ago will submit documents to substantia­te under which circumstan­ces they had to flee the country.

As they will apply for citizenshi­p in the DM office in the first phase, they may be marked as emigrants.

“They are asking for ninefold papers in support of citizenshi­p, which not only the Matuas but also most of the citizens, including the Prime Minister or Home minister, won’t be able to produce,” Thakur said.

She also asked how the BJP-led Centre dared to malign Indian citizens by offering citizenshi­p further. “You (Centre) have already offered us EPICs, Aadhaar cards, our people have voted to elect public representa­tives over the years and now they are intruders,” she said.

The resentment among a section of the Matua population has gone to such a height that leaflets were distribute­d in several places saying that citizenshi­p cannot be accepted under the conditions imposed by the Centre.

Some people belonging to the Matua community put up a road-block on Jessore Road in front of Gaighata Police Station on Saturday. The agitators also lit a fire on a tyre during their demonstrat­ion. Roadblocks occurred in Bongaon as well.

In 2003 when the CAA was passed in the Parliament, Matuas had placed a 10-fold demand the first of which said that citizenshi­p must be given without any conditions, claimed the Matua leaders.

Mamata Bala Thakur questioned: “Why the PMO, in January, 2020, responding to an RTI, had clearly stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a citizen of India by birth in terms of Section 3 of the Citizenshi­p Act, 1955 and didn’t require having a citizenshi­p by registrati­on?”

Incidental­ly, the Chief Minister and Trinamool

Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee already warned the Matuas to stay away from using the Centre’s dedicated portal for citizenshi­p registrati­on. Banerjee had said that once applied, the applicant voluntaril­y accepts that he or she’s an emigrant. Banerjee already raised questions on the timing of the notificati­on of CAA and dubbed the whole incident as an attempt to gain political mileage by the BJP ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

Both the ruling party in Bengal — Trinamool Congress and the Opposition, BJP are eyeing Matua votes in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls as the community is the dominant factor in nearly half a dozen Lok Sabha (LS) seats in North 24-Parganas and Nadia.

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PIC/REPRESENTA­TIVE

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