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Amid violent protests, Mamata appeals for calm

Kolkata: Amid widespread protests and violent agitations across the state against the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and NRC, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday appealed to the people to keep calm and use democratic means of protest. She has also warned that stern action would be taken against vandalism of any sort. She urged the people not to take law in their own hands.

Banerjee's appeal which has been circulated by the state Information and Cultural Affairs department reads: "No NRC No CAB We Want United India."

An appeal was sent out for the second time that read: "Once again I appeal to all not to resort to violence and disturb public order, tranquility and peace. It must be kept in mind that police stations, railway stations, airports, post offices, government offices, public transport and likes are public property. Vandalising public as well as private property in any form will not be tolerated and will strictly be dealt according to law. We are opposed to CAB and NRC. However, we are against any sort of violence and disruption. We urge all to protest against CAB and NRC through democratic means."

The Chief Minister had earlier held a high-level meeting with senior bureaucrats and police officers at Nabanna to review the situation. Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Director General of Police Virendra, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Gyanwant Singh, Commissioner of Police Anuj Sharma attended the meeting. Banerjee instructed the administration to ensure that things do not blow out of proportion.

Banerjee reiterated that neither the NRC nor CAB would be implemented in Bengal as the state government would not allow it. She appealed to the populace of the state not to get swayed by rumours or communal slogans.

Partha Chatterjee, the state Education minister also urged the people "Not to disrupt public life. The anti NRC and CAB movement should be carried out in a democratic and peaceful manner."

State Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim, urging the masses to remain calm, said: "Do not to create trouble and strengthen the hands of BJP." He alleged that some people by spending money "are trying to create trouble in Bengal. NRC or CAB is not a fight between the Muslims and the Hindus. If the Muslims by creating law and order problem antagonise the majority community, then that in turn will help the BJP in the long run." The minister added: "If you really want to protest then join the rally to be headed by Mamata Banerjee on Monday."

Meanwhile, some agitators set 10 buses and three private cars on fire at Kona Expressway on Saturday morning. The police dispersed them and brought the situation under control. South Eastern Railway has cancelled some long-distance trains including Gitanjali Express, Howrah Ernakulam Antyodaya Express, Howrah Yeshvantapur Duronto Express, Coromandel Express, Howrah Digha Kandari Express and Howrah Hyderabad East Coast Express.

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