Kolkata: With Bengal’s Municipal Polls round the corner, de-facto BJP supremo and union home minister Amit Shah today played his Hindu refugee card promising them full citizenship while accusing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of throwing spanner in their wheel to appease her vote bank, read Muslims.
Amidst protests and slogans of ‘Go Back Shah’ across the city, he addressed a BJP rally at Shahid Minar maidan and said that opposition parties are terrorizing refugees by creating a false perception about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Blaming the TMC supremo of allowing riots in her state by opposing the law, he said, “As an opposition leader, Mamata Banerjee raised the issue of citizenship to refugees. But when Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought the CAA, she is standing with the Congress and the Left Front in Opposition to it.”
However, when home minister was addressing to partymen, during and earlier to it, protest against his arrival at Kolkata hold by several political parties including Left and Congress. Student wings from many universities also took part under different banners and chanted Go Back Shah. Left leaders also alleged that TMC did not hold protest against Amit Shah as BJP and TMC have ‘setting’.
BJP is keen to harvest the misgivings of Hindu refugees from Bangladesh, particularly, the lower caste Hindus who have migrated to West Bengal after the Bangladesh liberation war. Many of them were forced to leave during the successive military rules after the killing of Mujibur Rahman and specially during the BNP-Jamat-e-Islami regime. The most organized and politically coveted is the dalit caste group of namo sudros who are now divided mainly between Banerjee’s TMC and BJP. Many of late-comers are demanding citizenship rights since 2003 amendment of citizenship act had counted them among illegal migrants.
The latest CAA promises to fulfill their demands as it makes all non-Muslims illegal entrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan eligible for citizenship while denying the same from Muslims from these countries. It is another matter that there will be many a procedural hassles including self-declaration about illegal migration with the application for the citizenship right to be vetted and decided by intelligence agencies among others.
That BJP is hell bent to continue its politics of communal polarization despite the latest sectarian orgy in Delhi, Shah’s supporters raised the same refrains- “Desh Ke Gaddaron Ko, Goli Maaro Saalon Ko,” today in Kolkata too in their way to the rally. The same sloganeering had triggered the worst communal riots earlier this week in national capital which saw murders of 43 people, both Hindus and Muslims.
“Hate speech by a section of senior BJP leaders and ministers was seen as a key reason for the violence in Delhi that flared up earlier this week. Now the BJP is trying to create similar communal tension in Bengal,” Md. Salim, a CPIM polit- bureau member said.
However, neither Shah nor his lieutenants in the state BJP uttered a word on the Hindutva mob’s role as well as collapse of law and order there when United States President Donald Trump was present in the capital.
Launching BJP’s ‘Aur Noi Annay’ (No More Injustice) campaign in the state, Shah mentioned that the TMC supremo started ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ and now the saffron camp is starting ‘Aur Noi Annay’ to stop the atrocities and violence of the ruling Trinamool Congress.
As Shah was kept harping on his party’s impressive show during last Lok Sabha polls in which they bagged 18 out of 42 seats in Bengal, he was silent on BJP’s debacle in the last three assembly bypolls in 2019, after the outcome of the Assam NRC. The final list of Assam NRC has excluded more than 19 lakhs of people, most of whom are Bengali Hindus. After that Modi-Shah duo brought CAA to mollify the Bengali-speaking Hindus in Assam and Bengal with a eye to Bengal assembly polls in 2021, while harping on countrywide NRC-NPR to exclude the ‘lakhs of infiltrators,’ their euphemism for Muslims. But they seemed to have put foot in their mouth and tried to delink CAA and NRC-NPR in the wake of nationwide protest.
Post rally, the Union Home Minister visited iconic Kalighat temple. Coming out of the temple, he said he has prayed for BJP’s rule in Bengal to ‘Kali Kalkatta Wali’. It is an irony that Mamata Banerjee, also known as the human avatar of the deity, stays nearby.