CAA linked to NRC, won’t allow detention camps in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

KOLKATA — West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asserted that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is linked with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and that is the reason why she is opposing the new legislation.

The TMC supremo said she doesn’t want detention camps in West Bengal, like those in Assam.

“The CAA is related to NRC, that is why we are opposing it. We don’t want detention camps like those in Assam,” she told reporters here.

Banerjee also claimed that the CAA is a “political gimmick” ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

With the CAA rules being issued, the central government will now start granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who came to India till December 31, 2014. These include Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians.

Addressing an administrative meeting in Jalpaiguri earlier in the day, Banerjee underscored that the citizenship-granting process proposed by the central government is different from that of other nations.

The TMC supremo criticised the exclusion of Muslims from the ambit of the CAA, asserting that it aims at creating division among the country’s populace.

“The CAA is aimed at dividing the people of the country,” she said.

Expressing concerns over the lack of clarity in the CAA application process and its potential ramifications on people’s rights, Banerjee affirmed her administration’s commitment to safeguarding the citizens of West Bengal.

“We are not landlords, but vigilant custodians. No one will be ousted from West Bengal. All refugees will find permanent settlement here,” she pledged.

Banerjee also rebuked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alleging that it espouses a “distorted interpretation of Hinduism”.

“The BJP’s conception of Hinduism deviates from the teachings of the Vedas and Swami Vivekananda,” she contended.

Hitting out at her brother Babun Banerjee for speaking out against the TMC’s selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, the party supremo said she has decided to renounce all relationships with him.

“My family and I renounce all relationships with him. I don’t like greedy people. I have heard what he has said. He is in touch with the BJP and can do whatever he wants to. Please don’t relate me with him,” she said.

During the administrative meeting, Banerjee extended the ‘Cha Sundari’ scheme, providing land titles and allocating funds for housing construction for tea garden workers. Additionally, she unveiled various development projects for north Bengal districts.

The CM said the common refrain of the saffron party that the TMC government had usurped money under the 100 days’ work scheme is “false”.

“The Centre does not the give the money which is due to us. Had they given, we could have done more,” she said.

“They (BJP leaders) say that our government has usurped money under various central schemes, like the 100-day job programme, which is false because the money goes directly to the beneficiaries. However, we are paying the money to the beneficiaries from our own pocket. We have to stand on our own feet,” she added. — (PTI)