Tension prevails in West Bengal amid anti-citizenship law protests

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Tension prevailed in West Bengal on Saturday, a day after protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) blocked roads and vandalised railway stations, leading to disruptions in vehicular movement and train services.

On Friday, a mob, carrying posters against the CAB and the proposed National Register of Citizens, vandalised the Beldanga railway station of Eastern Railway in Murshidabad district, forcing the railway employees to flee.

The protesters torched the station master's cabin and ransacked the ticket counter before setting it on fire.

They also sat on the track, disrupting train movement between Lalgola and Krishnanagar.

Another large group of protesters obstructed the National highway at Beldanga, burning tyres and damaging vehicles, including an ambulance.

Vehicular traffic was halted at various points of the district, including Jalangi, Raghunathganj, Sahmserganj, Kandi, Baharampur and Domkal.

In Howrah district, angry protesters barged into the Uluberia station under South Eastern Railway and vandalised its premises.

The mob earlier blockaded the track, adversely hitting train movements on the Howrah-Kharagpur section on both up and down lines.

The Howrah-Coromondol Express and the Howrah-Digha Kandari Express were damaged in the attack.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar appealed for peace and asked people to believe in the rule of law and the laws passed by parliament and described the violence as unfortunate.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has blamed chief minister Mamata Banerjee, accusing her of spreading lawlessness through her statements opposing the CAA.

BJP national general secretary in-charge of the state Kailash Vijayvargiya alleged that the "shameful incidents" in Bengal were engineered by the infiltrators.

Besides West Bengal, the northeastern region, especially in the states of Assam, Tripura and now Meghalaya, have witnessed widespread violent protests against the CAA.

Before becoming a law, the CAB was passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh with a cut-off date of 31 December 2014.

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