Union minister faces locals’ fury while campaigning for CAA in Bengal

Union minister of state Debasree Chaudhuri ran into opposition from a section of local residents and Trinamool Congress workers on Wednesday, when she went to a neighbourhood in Raiganj town in her constituency to campaign for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

A group of residents, mostly women, encircled her vehicle and sought explanations about CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC). There was a heated argument between the residents and the minister’s entourage.

The incident took place at Indira Colony area in Raiganj, 400 km north of Kolkata. The junior minister for women and child development was participating in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s door-to-door campaign and party workers were distributing leaflets, explaining CAA, when the agitation started. It continued for about 15 minutes after which Chaudhuri left the area.

Some of the protesters raised ‘go-back’ slogans. They were led by local TMC leader Manju Rava. “Why are they asking us to prove our citizenship after coming to power with our votes?” she asked.

The 48-year-old MP from Raiganj in north Bengal alleged that BJP’s opponents engineered the agitation. “It was a political conspiracy. People have wholeheartedly welcomed CAA,” said Chaudhuri.

Trinamool Congress denied any link with the protest despite Manju Rava leading some protesters. “All the people are angry with BJP for CAA and NRC. BJP leaders may face spontaneous agitation at any place and at any time. We have nothing to do with Wednesday’s incident,” said Raiganj’s civic body chairman and TMC’s North Dijanpur district president Kanaialal Agarwal.

Protests have continued to rage across Bengal against the CAA since the Parliament approved it on December 11. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been at the forefront of the anti-CAA protests. The Congress, Left parties, students and women have also been protesting separately against the amended citizenship law.

Despite protests against the amended law in various parts of the country, Union home minister Amit Shah has insisted that there is no question of rolling it back.

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