The Asian Age

Assam tense after Union minister’s claim on CAA

Issue being raked up again for poll politics: Didi

- MANOJ ANAND and RAJIB CHOWDHURI

Widespread protests erupted in Assam after Union minister Shantanu Thakur in West Bengal said that the Citizenshi­p (Amendment) Act (CAA) will be implemente­d nationwide within the next seven days.

“Within the next week, CAA will be implemente­d not only in West Bengal but also across the country,” Mr Thakur said at a public meeting in Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district.

Ruling Trinamul Congress and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee dismissed the claim as a “poll rhetoric”, while vowing to prevent CAA implementa­tion in the state.

Ms Banerjee accused the BJP of playing the CAA card again to woo the voters in the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The TMC supremo advised locals in Cooch Behar, particular­ly Rajbanshis, to ensure that their names are on the voters’ list to “protect themselves” from the Citizenshi­p (Amendment) Act or CAA.

The Asom Jatiyataba­di Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) organized a sitin protest in Guwahati, threatenin­g to escalate the agitation if it is enforced in the state.

“The CAA is simply an anti-Assam act and it has

◗ MAMATA BANERJEE accused the BJP of playing the CAA card again to woo the voters in the upcoming LS poll. She also advised locals in Cooch Behar to ensure that their names are on the voters’ list to ‘protect themselves’ from the CAA .

to go away. If CAA is implemente­d fully, the Assamese language will die,” the youth organisati­on said.

Asserting that the Assamese identity and Assamese community will cease to exist if CAA is implemente­d, the AJYCP leaders said that they have been demanding that instead of implementi­ng CAA, the government should introduce Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Assam to protect the existence of indigenous people. There were

massive protests in some parts of the country after the CAA was passed by Parliament in December 2019 and received the President’s assent subsequent­ly.

While speaking at the programme in Cooch Behar, Ms Banerjee said, “They (BJP) have again started to speak about CAA. This is nothing but politics. We have given citizenshi­p to everyone (and) they (people in border areas) are getting everything. They are citizens, which is why they are allowed to vote.”

Ms Banerjee also accused the BSF of “torturing people and issuing separate identity cards to people residing in border areas”. She cautioned locals not to accept such identity cards from the BSF, else they would “fall into the NRC trap”.

“The BSF is torturing people... it is trying to issue separate identity cards to people living in border areas. Never accept these cards. If they ask you, tell them you have Aadhaar and ration cards and do not need any other cards. If you accept those cards, you will fall into the NRC trap and (they) will strike you off (the citizen’s list). But do not be afraid... I am always there like a tigress to protect you,” she said.

She also reminded the people how four villagers were shot dead by the Central forces mercilessl­y in the district during the last Assembly election here.

 ?? ?? Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee

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