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Angry Matuas stage protest, claim they have been cheated by Centre

Kolkata: Demanding clarity about their citizenship rights from the union government, a section of Matua Community members staged a protest outside Thakurnagar police station in North 24-Parganas. The protestors claimed that the union Home minister Amit Shah had failed to keep his promise as he didn't turn up for the rally scheduled last Sunday.

Belonging to an apolitical group, the Matuas alleged that they had been cheated by the centre. "It is high time that the union government should make it clear whether we are citizens of the country or not . We are staying at Thakurnagar for a long time and suddenly we have seen that various BJP leaders have assured that they would implement CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) so that we became legal citizens of the state. I want to ask a question. Are we illegal immigrants? If we are illegal immigrants, then it is the duty of the union government to give us citizenship rights," said Gopal Saha, a senior member of All India Matua Maha Sangha.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader of Bangaon, Mamata Bala Thakur, alleged that the Matua community was dissatisfied as BJP had failed to implement CAA for around 6 crore Matuas in the state. The support of the Matua community is crucial for

both BJP and TMC ahead of the Assembly elections in Bengal.

"We want a college in the name of our guru Harichand Thakur, and also want a holiday on his birthday. The state government has issued notification for both the proposals,"

said Saha.

According to Thakur, the TMC leaders had been visiting various households under the 'Paray Paray Samadhan' initiative of the state government. The TMC leaders claimed to have found that the Matua community was not in favour of BJP. The Matuas had come from Bangladesh and settled in Bengal. They have been demanding citizenship under the

CAA since long.

According to Saha, as elections are drawing near, the BJP leaders were visiting Thakurnagar often to woo the voters. However, they (BJP leaders) have failed to bring out all round development of the community. These Scheduled Tribes constitute the second-largest share of the population in Bengal. The Matua community has a stronghold on more than 70 Assembly seats in Nadia and North and South 24-Parganas districts.

The Matua community has played an important role in ousting the Left from power and helped Mamata Banerjee to form the government.

With BJP trying to gain grounds in Bengal, they are also trying to win the confidence of the community.

It may be mentioned that Mamata Banerjee has granted land rights to 25,000 refugee families. The state government has also allocated Rs 10 crore and Rs 5 crore for the Matua Development Board and Namasudra Development Board.

The descendants of Harichand Thakur founded the Matua sect. The Thakur family of the North 24-Parganas district has a long association with politics.

Harichand's great-grandson Pramath Ranjan Thakur became a member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1962 as a Congress candidate. Pramath was married to Binapani Devi in 1933. Binapani Devi was later called 'Matua Mata' or 'Boro Maa' (elder mother).

Binapani Devi was born in 1918 in the Barisal district of undivided Bengal. After independence, Binapani Devi moved to West Bengal with the Thakur family.

In 2014, Kapil Krishna Thakur, elder son of Binapani Devi, contested from Bangaon Lok Sabha seat on a Trinamool Congress ticket and reached the Parliament. Kapil Krishna Thakur died in 2015. After that, his wife Mamta Bala Thakur won this seat on the TMC ticket in 2015

by-elections.

After the death of Matua Mata, the political division in the family began to appear. His younger son Manjul Krishna Thakur joined BJP. In 2019, Manjul Krishna Thakur's son Shantanu Thakur became an MP from Bangaon on a BJP ticket.

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