This is a game to take away your rights: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee waves the supporters during the Jonogorjon Sabha, at the Brigade Ground, in Kolkata on 10 March, 2024ANI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday attacked the Centre over the timing of its decision to notify the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), saying that she doubts the legality of CAA and she said that there is no clarity from the side of the Central government.

“Central Government implemented CAA yesterday (Monday), I am doubtful of its legality. There is no clarity from the Government over this. In 2019, names of 1.3 million Hindu Bengalis, out of the total 1.9 million, were removed from the list in Assam in the name of NRC. Several people died by suicide,” said West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.

“Will they (whose names were removed) be granted citizenship if they seek?... What would be the future of their children? What about their property?... All your rights would be snatched, you would be branded ‘illegal’. This is a game (Khela) to strip you of your rights...You will be taken to detention camp...You (Centre) hear me, I will not let anyone be taken away from Bengal,” Mamata Banerjee asserted.

After the Bhartiya Janata Party-led Centre announced the CAA notification on Monday (11 March), Opposition parties strongly criticised the move, calling it an action by the Centre to create division and polarise the upcoming general elections.

Several leaders from the Opposition bloc have expressed their disappointment over the Centre’s decision.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson Anand Dubey questioned the timing of the recent Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) notification, suggesting that the government had a decade to introduce it.

Dubey expressed his concerns, stating, “We are sitting in March 2024, if you wanted to bring a law, you had 10 years, you could have brought the law. Now when the code of conduct will be imposed in 2-4 days, then you are bringing the law...Today you have implemented the Citizenship Amendment Act CAA, what will happen from this? There are elections ahead, that’s why you are doing all these things.”

Dubey suggested that the motive behind the sudden implementation is to create an atmosphere of anarchy in the country, influencing the electoral landscape.

“BJP can do anything to win the elections. They don’t care about the promises made by them to the people, this is all Jumlabazi (rule of whim). They don’t want to address the main issues such as inflation and unemployment in the country,” Dubey said.

Training guns at the BJP, he said, “Do you know the meaning of Ram Rajya? Shri Ram went to exile to fulfil the promises made by him, and you break parties, put people in jail? These (implementation of CAA) are all tactics to win the elections, but the people of the country know everything.”

Also, AAP leader and Delhi Minister Atishi suspected a political motive behind the implementation of the act just before the elections.

“Just a few days before the Lok Sabha elections, CAA is being brought. What does this show? This shows that Modi govt knows that they haven’t done any work in the last 10 years,” AAP leader Atishi said.

“The youth today is unemployed, there are no homes for the poor, and inflation is increasing. Rather than bringing people from the neighbouring countries, why doesn’t he offer employment, provide home to the people of this country?” she said.

On Monday evening, the Union Home Ministry notified rules for implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), days ahead of the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections schedule.

The CAA, introduced by the Narendra Modi government and passed by Parliament in 2019, aims to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants - including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians - who migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and arrived in India before 31 December, 2014.