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Mamata Banerjee Accuses BSF Of Issuing ID Cards To Locals In Border Areas, Warns Them Not To Accept Amid CAA Row

Mamata Banerjee advised the locals in Cooch Behar, particularly the Rajbanshis, to enlist themselves in voters's list to "protect themselves" from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the BJP on Monday of intimidating people with the threat of sending central probe agencies to their homes if they don't vote for the saffron party in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The TMC supremo advised locals in Cooch Behar, particularly Rajbanshis, to ensure their names are on the voters' list to "protect themselves" from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA.

"The BJP is using central agencies for elections... it is threatening people over the phone to send Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths to their homes if they do not vote for the saffron party," Banerjee said at a public distribution programme here.

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The West Bengal chief minister also asserted that she will not follow any diktat of the BJP to worship any particular god.

"I follow Ramayana, Quran, Bible, and Guru Granth Sahib... I do not do drama by visiting poor people's homes to eat food brought from outside," she said.

While referring to the ethnic violence in BJP-ruled Manipur, she claimed that over 200 churches have been gutted and several women paraded naked during the strife in the northeastern state.

"In Manipur, they have set on fire 200 churches and women were paraded naked," she alleged, adding that the Christmas holiday was also canceled.

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Banerjee alleged that the Centre is bringing up the issue of CAA to do politics before the Lok Sabha polls.

"They (BJP) have again started to speak about CAA. This is nothing but politics. We have given citizenship to everyone (and) they (people in border areas) are getting everything. They are citizens, which is why they are allowed to vote," she said.

Earlier in the day, Union minister and BJP leader Shantanu Thakur claimed that the CAA will be implemented across India within the next seven days.

"Within the next week, CAA will be implemented not only in West Bengal but also across the country," Thakur said at a public meeting in Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district.

Banerjee, while speaking at the program in Cooch Behar, also accused the BSF of "torturing people and issuing separate identity cards to people residing in border areas".

She cautioned locals not to accept such identity cards from the BSF, else they would "fall into the NRC trap".

"The BSF is torturing people... it is trying to issue separate identity cards to people living in border areas. Never accept these cards.

"If they ask you, tell them you have Aadhaar and ration cards and do not need any other cards. If you accept those cards, you will fall into the NRC trap and (they) will strike you off (the citizen's list). But do not be afraid... I am always there like a tigress to protect you," she said.

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Later speaking at another program of distribution of tea garden 'pattas' (documents) and extension of benefits of 'Cha Sundari' scheme in Siliguri, Banerjee again cautioned people against accepting any cards issued by the BSF, while asserting that it is only the state government which has the authority to issue any new identity card.

She expressed shock over the grant of bail to six CISF personnel, who are accused in the Sitalkuchi firing during the 2021 assembly elections in the state.

"Hope you have not forgotten that four people were killed in Sitalkuchi. If the murderer gets bail, how will the common people rely on the judiciary?" she said, while asking people to lodge complaints with the police if the BSF "tortures" them.

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"I do not know how the accused got bail in the Sitalkuchi firing case. I have reservations about this. I do not want to question the judiciary but have the right to criticize the judgment," she said.

She also directed the chief secretary, district magistrates, and SPs to keep an eye on matters involving the Border Security Force (BSF).

Banerjee said her government has constituted a development board for migrant laborers from West Bengal working in other states.

She said 28 lakh migrant workers have already enrolled themselves under the board and urged them to ensure their names are also on the voters' list to avoid any problems due to NRC.

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During the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections, six CISF personnel had allegedly opened fire "in self-defense", killing four people outside a polling booth in Jorpatki in Sitalkuchi assembly constituency in Cooch Behar district.

In May 2023, the six accused CISF personnel were granted interim bail by the Mathabhanga sub-divisional court.

The Bengal CM also further hit out at the Centre for not paying the dues to the state and gave them an ultimatum till February 1 to clear the funds or else she would initiate a massive protest.

"I will wait till 1st (February). I have given time for seven days to clear the dues. Give us our money back. People won't get houses, won't get money for their hard work, and you will stay in buildings, it won't happen. I will not tolerate this. If I don't get money, I will do whatever I can," she said.

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Last week, Banerjee gave an ultimatum of seven days to the Centre to clear all the funds due to the state or else her party would launch a massive protest.

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