Kolkata: Asserting that peaceful protests will continue as long as the new citizenship law is not withdrawn, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday warned the BJP against "playing with fire".
Speaking at a protest rally in the city, the Trinamool Congress supremo accused the BJP of not keeping its promises and referred to Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's remark about putting on hold compensation to families of two people killed in police firing on anti-CAA protesters in Mangaluru.
The government would not give a single rupee to their families if the investigation proved the involvement of two persons in the violence during the December 19 protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Karnataka CM had told reporters on Wednesday.
The West Bengal chief minister asked students to carry on with their protests. She also told them that she will always be by their side. "Do not fear anybody. I warn the BJP not to play with fire," Banerjee said.
The Trinamool Congress chief, who lead a protest march from Rajabazar to Mullick Bazar in central Kolkata, alleged that students speaking against the CAA are being threatened by the BJP.
"We express our solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia, IIT Kanpur and other universities who are protesting against the CAA and the NRC," she said. They have been also asked to vacate hostel rooms, she said.
Thursday's rally by Banerjee was the fifth by her in 11 days in and around the city to build up a movement on the contentious amended citizenship act. At another gathering at the conclusion of her rally during the day Banerjee hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying "If you chase out everybody (infiltrators) how will you stay?"
She iterated her description of BJP as a "washing machine" saying that by joining that party all stains are washed away. "The BJP paints other parties in black and takes pride to portray itself in white".
TMC, she said, will fight for all the communities, "Because this is Hindustan. We will not allow any party to snatch away our rights... If needed we will lay down our lives to protect the movement against CAA".
TMC, she said, will continue the protests against CAA since this is a fight for the people of the country. "I have been speaking out against CAB (now CAA) and NRC from day one" and with the passage of time more and more people are joining the protests against CAA.
Banerjee said the protesting students are adults and voters. "So if they stage any protest, where is the harm in it? ... They have a role to play," she said and suggested they use the social media to unite the people.
She said that a TMC delegation will be sent to Karnataka to meet the families of victims allegedly killed in police firing there. "We have decided to hand over cheques to the families of the victims. They will be handed over by the TMC trade union," she said.
Referring to the violence in Lucknow, she said the TMC had sent four representatives to the Uttar Pradesh capital but they were not allowed to step out of the airport citing clamping of 144 Cr PC. "But we all know that four persons can go to areas where the 144 Cr PC has been imposed".
Keeping up her attack of the BJP, Banerjee said, "We do not do politics of hatred like the BJP, but politics of love and TMC will not allow anyone to take away the rights of the people."
The saffron party is trying to create confusion among the people by making contradictory statements.
"It is a ploy of the BJP to defame any peaceful movement. So I request everyone to keep a strict vigil on any move to divide the people of the country. We will not allow anyone to split this movement of the people," Banerjee said.
"The BJP is trying to snatch away our rights," she said and asked the people, "particularly our mothers and sisters", to keep a close watch and put up a resistance so that the movement against CAA is not diluted or derailed.
Taking a dig at Modi for his comment that rioteers against CAA can be identified by their clothes, Banerjee, a strident critic of the saffron party, said "BJP will use similar clothes to derail the ongoing movement against the CAA."
"Give roti, kapda and makaan to the people of the country. You (BJP) have failed to do so but are busy in identifying infiltrators," she said. "Give the people jobs," Banerjee added.