Protests erupt after minister claims CAA in one week

Mamata Banerjee accuses BJP of playing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) card again to woo voters in the upcoming Lok Sabha Election

Kolkata/Guwahati: Union minister of state for ports and shipping, Shantanu Thakur’s statement asserting that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) would be implemented across the country in the next seven days led to protests in various parts of the country. In Assam, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) organised a sit-in protest on Monday, demanding the immediate scrapping of the legislation. They threatened to intensify the agitation if it is implemented in the state, stating, "The CAA is simply an anti-Assam act and it has to go away. If CAA is implemented fully, the Assamese language will die."

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the BJP on Monday of playing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) card again to woo voters in the upcoming Lok Sabha Election. She also accused the Border Security Force (BSF) of issuing new identity cards to villagers at international borders.

Banerjee urged people not to accept these cards to avoid coming under the National Register of Citizens (NRC). She said, "If BSF tortures you, lodge an FIR with the police first. It is now trying to hand the villagers at the border a new identity card. Don't accept it. If you do, you will fall under the NRC. All of you will be dropped as citizens."

"We have fought against the NRC. Rajbanshis are citizens of India. But now, they (BJP) have again started crying ‘CAA, CAA’ to get votes," she stated at an event in Coochbehar in North Bengal.

Banerjee assured the crowd, "All of you are citizens. We have given permanent addresses to all colonies. They go to school and get ration, scholarships, and benefits from welfare schemes like Kishan Bondhu, Shikkhashree, Oikyoshree, Lakshmir Bhandar."

She questioned, “How could these people get the benefits if they were not citizens? Could they cast their votes if they were not citizens? BJP first instill fear and then conduct polls through agencies.”

AJYCP leaders asserted that the Assamese identity and community would cease to exist if CAA is implemented. They demanded the introduction of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Assam to protect the existence of indigenous people instead of implementing CAA.

Thakur claimed that "the CAA will be implemented across the country within the next seven days" . On December 27 last year, Union home minister Amit Shah stated that no one could stop the implementation of the CAA, calling it the law of the land, and accused Mamata Banerjee of misleading people on the issue.

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