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Protests and celebrations in Kolkata over passage of CAB

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Mamata calls meeting of MPs, MLAs to chalk out strategy for countering it

A day after the Rajya Sabha cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, protests and celebrations erupted in Kolkata and different parts of Bengal on Thursday.

Protests against the contentious legislation were called by scores of civil rights groups while celebrations were witnessed outside the State headquarters of the BJP. The Trinamool Congress leadership, whose MPs had opposed the Bill in Parliament, did not organise any protest. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was busy at the Bengal Business Summit in Digha, called a meeting of the MPs and the MLAs on December 20 to chalk out the strategy for countering the Bill.

The followers of the BJP, who were celebrating the passage at the headquarters at 6 Murlidhar Sen Lane in central Kolkata came face to face with a group of Congress supporters who were rallying from the nearby Central Avenue against the Bill. Amid slogan shouting, they threw sticks and water bottles at each other.

A few hours later tension prevailed in the area when a few students of the Presidency University, which is less than 200 metres from the BJP office, marched with copies of the Constitution. The students, who were prevented from reaching the BJP office by the police, said they wanted to remind the BJP that they were flouting the Constitution by passing “divisive Bills like the CAB”.

Thousands participated in protests organised by several civil rights groups like the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights here and the Banglar Sanskriti Mancha in Birbhum. A torch rally was also organised by civil rights groups at Park Circus against the Bill.

The BJP leadership described the passage as a major success for the “Hindu refugees who have come to Bengal”. National general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who held a press conference here, said he was receiving congratulatory messages from all across the State.

On being asked about the opposition by the TMC and Ms. Banerjee, Mr. Vijayvargiya said the country is governed by Constitution where the Centre has the right to determine citizenship.

“She is opposing the Bill for her minority vote bank,” he said, adding that the Bill had provided citizenship to lakhs of “Hindu refugees’ who had come to Bengal. He said the party would counter attempts of the TMC to mislead people on the Bill.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 7:14:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/protests-and-celebrations-in-kolkata-over-passage-of-cab/article30289907.ece

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