Kolkata: Violence over the new citizenship law appears to be eased out in West Bengal, but the state’s politics remains on the boil.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit the streets for the third consecutive day Wednesday, continuing her tirade against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, while Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar maintained that the contentious Act was the “law of the land” and the only redressal against it could be in a judicial forum, not through violent acts or street politics.
‘Rats will nibble through rock’
Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chief, called the Act “unconstitutional, undemocratic, unethical and illegal”, and also took a dig at Union Home Minister Amit Shah for saying he would stand “firm like a rock” on the Act.
“If you are like a rock, we are like little rats… We will nibble through it,” Banerjee said.
“You are a very powerful leader, but we have reached this position through people’s movements. Do not underestimate us. We will see till the end how you implement CAA and NRC in Bengal,” she said at a public meeting.
Reiterating that the arson attacks on railway property were “small incidents”, Banerjee said the railways shutting down operations between south and north Bengal were causing huge difficulty for people.
“I was the railway minister for three years. I know how significant a particular station is. Some small stations in rural areas were attacked by some groups. These are small, sporadic incidents. It never calls for complete suspension of service,” she added.
Banerjee also announced that she would hold public meetings Thursday and Friday in central Kolkata.
‘All Indians bound by new law’
Meanwhile, Governor Dhankhar said there was no scope of going against a central law passed by both Houses of Parliament, and that street politics or violent demonstration would not help anyone.
“The bill was deliberated at great length in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, everyone got full and ample opportunity to put forward their views. And the Act got presidential assent. So now, this is the law of the land and all Indians are bound by it,” Dhankhar said Wednesday, adding that the only way of redressal is judicial recourse.
Dhankhar was also briefed by Rajiva Sinha, Chief Secretary of West Bengal, and Virendra, Director General of Police, about the situation, following violent protests across districts.
About Banerjee’s stand on the CAA and the National Register of Citizens, Dhankhar said he would leave that to her conscience, but as governor, he would appeal to all to abide by the law of the land.