Image Courtesy: telegraphindia.com
Here’s a look at two protests led by two groups in West Bengal.
Matuas: This is not the first time the Matua Mahasangha, which is a Hindu sect in Bengal has erupted against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The Telegraph had reported that the Matua community under the banner of the Sara Bharat Matua Mahasangha and backed by the ruling government of the state, Trinamool Congress (TMC) had also protested on December 30 across North 24-Parganas at places like Thakurnagar, Tentulia and Swarupnagar, which have a significant presence of the Matuas. These protests had seen about 5,00 people join the processions.
This time, the protests that took place on December 5 were scaled up and demonstrations were held at different spots on the Swarupnagar-Hakimpur border road in North 24-Parganas protesting against CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC). The protestors even blocked the traffic even though police forced the demonstrators to lift the blockade.
The Telegraph reported that the Matua residents were panicked over incorrect entries in their Aadhaar cards. Ranjit Das, a senior member of the Sara Bharat Matua Mahasangha, said, “The Act has created confusion among us. The incorrect Aadhaar entries, which many villagers did not notice earlier, have made us worried about proving our identity. The central government offers citizenship through the Act on one hand and demands documents on the other hand. If they allowed us to vote, how can they offer us citizenship again?”
Another member of the organization said that villagers have to go and stand in queues at banks and post offices to get their Aadhar details rectified which was termed as harassment. He added, “Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had made the right guess. The Centre has been misleading us on the citizenship issue. How can a government that has issued a voter’s identity card to a person and allowed him to vote offer him citizenship again.”
Image Courtesy: telegraphindia.com
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha: On the same day as the Matua community protests, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha led by Binay Tamang held a procession from Kurseong to Sukna. The Telegraph reported that The Tamang faction of the Morcha organised the walkathon attended by hundreds along NH55, around 10 kms from Siliguri where Bengal CM, Mamata Banerjee had held a huge protest two days ago.
During the Tamang processions various anti-CAA slogans were raised and the procession continued as the protestors braved the rising cold in the region. “We will never let the CAA or the NRC to be implemented in the hills. The Act would largely affect the Gorkhas and we have seen what the NRC has done to the community in Assam. We don’t want it here,” said Tamang addressing the procession. The walkathon started around 9am and reached Sukna after 6.30pm.
After arriving in Sukna, Tamang said: “We will continue our movement till the Centre withdraws the Act. On January 12, we will hold a 28km march from Pedong to Dambar Chowk in Kalimpong. We will jointly take out a march with Trinamul in Darjeeling on January 22 in the presence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee. It will be a 4km march.”
A political observer commented that the Tamang protest managed to keep the tempo of the CM’s Siliguri protest alive and many among those who walked the Tamang march were also present at the Siliguri protest.
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