Go for UN-monitored referendum on CAA, NRC: Mamata's challenge to Centre


Adressing a rally at Rani Rashmoni Avenue here, the Trinamool Congress supremo alleged that the BJP was trying to brand the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as a fight between Hindus and Muslims.

Kolkata: Challenging the Modi government to go for a UN-monitored referendum over the amended Citizenship Act and the proposed nationwide NRC, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday that the BJP will have to quit if it fails such a "mass vote".

Adressing a rally at Rani Rashmoni Avenue here, the Trinamool Congress supremo alleged that the BJP was trying to brand the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as a fight between Hindus and Muslims.

"Just because the BJP has got the majority doesn't mean that they can do whatever they want. If the BJP has guts, it should go for a United Nations-monitored referendum on the issue of Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC. Let there be an impartial organisation like the UN or the Human Rights Commission conduct it," Banerjee said.

"If the BJP looses this mass vote, then it should step down from the government," she added.

Banerjee, who has been at the forefront of protests against the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the new citizenship law, has led three marches crisscrossing the city since Monday. She is scheduled to address another rally in minority-dominated Park Circus area on Friday.

"Tomorrow we have a protest meeting at Park Circus. I would request everybody to maintain peace. Don't fall into the trap of the BJP. They want to make it a fight between Hindus and Muslims. We have specific inputs that the BJP is buying skull caps for its cadres who are wearing them while vandalising properties to malign a particular community," she alleged.

Reiterating that the contentious law and the NRC won't be allowed in West Bengal, Banerjee said the BJP was founded in 1980 and was asking for citizenship documents of 1970 from people.

"We are born here, and that is our biggest identity. BJP don't have the right to determine our citizenship. Do we have to wear BJP's amulet to prove our citizenship? A party which was formed in 1980 is seeking documents of 1970," she quipped.

Banerjee said the BJP was acting like a "washing machine" which turns corrupts and criminals turn into sages. She said despite imposing prohibitory orders in various parts of the country, the saffron party won't succeed in curbing protests.

"Entire country is burning and BJP is laughing, because they want India to burn. The protests have spread to all parts of the country be it BJP-ruled state or non BJP ruled," she said.

Banerjee questioned why Afghanistan was included in the amended Citizenship Act but Myanmar and Sri Lanka were left out.

"From when did India start sharing borders with Afghanistan that it was included, but Myanmar and Sri Lanka was omitted," she asked.

The amended Citizenship Act seeks to provide citizenship to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have entered India till December 31, 2014 following religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Banerjee said the agitation must continue till the controversial law is revoked by the central government.

"Suddenly after 73 years of Independence we have to prove that we are Indian citizens. Where was the BJP's head and tail at that time. BJP is dividing the country. Don't stop your protest because we have to get CAA revoked," she said.

Stating that her government has halted all works on the National Population Register (NPR) in the state, Banerjee said she was receiving various complaints regarding it.

"I would ask my party cadres to prepare the voter list meticulously, ensure that no one is left out. BJP is planning to omit several genuine voters and include some people through online voting registration process, in order to create a panic," she said.

PTI

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