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CAA discriminates against Gorkhas, says Mamata

CAA discriminates against Gorkhas, says Mamata

Darjeeling: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who took her fight against the CAA and the proposed NRC to the Hills on Wednesday, sought clarifications from Union Home minister Amit Shah on clauses of the new law, even as she accused the Centre of spreading lies on the issue.

Addressing a rally after leading a mega 4-km-long protest march through Darjeeling's serpentine stretches, Banerjee said the Centre is trying to push the CAA only in non-BJP ruled states.

"Every day the Union Home minister is giving new sermons. Yesterday (Tuesday), he said that we (Opposition parties) are misleading people. I would like to ask him to clarify whether a person will be declared foreigner first and then allowed to apply for citizenship under the CAA," Banerjee said, addressing the rally in Hindi.

"The Centre is saying that there is no need for documents for NPR, then why are they asking about date and place of birth of parents. The Centre is actually planning to make two lists — one for those who would submit documents and another for those who wouldn't," she added.

Banerjee said any voice raised against CAA and NRC is being labelled as "Pakistani" by the Centre.

"I want to make it clear to the BJP that bad-mouthing me won't work. They must tell us if they will withdraw CAA or not," she maintained and added that she will not allow "CAA, NPR and NRC to be implemented in Bengal."

She further stated: "I do not get votes in the Hills and I don't care about that. I will not allow a single Gorkha to be driven out of the Hills. Why this discrimination? Why did you (the Centre) leave out one lakh Gorkhas from the National Register of Citizens in Assam? Why did you leave out 13 lakh Hindus? Indians are now asking whether they have to fight for their freedom 70 years after Independence."

This was her first rally against CAA, NRC and NPR in Darjeeling.

With an oath-taking ceremony, the rally was flagged off from Chowrasta at 1:25 pm. The rally took an oath not to allow CAA, NPR and NRC in the Hills. Bishop Stephen Lepcha who was present on the dais with the Chief Minister appealed: "Save the Constitution of India; Save the citizens of India."

Passing through Robertson Road, Clubside, Gandhi Road, DB Giri Road, Kakjhora, National Highway 55, Darjeeling Railway station the rally culminated at the motor stand.

"The BJP arrive in Darjeeling just before elections. They give assurance for Gorkhaland; spend a lot of money; grab all the votes and disappear. Time has come to show them that Gorkhas have self-respect and cannot be bought with money. It is time to drive them away," retorted Banerjee.

She also stated that the BJP-led government has failed miserably in all the avenues and hence as a diversion they are indulging in divisive politics.

Not naming the saffron party, she stated: "You say I am misleading people. Then it is time you tell the truth. Now, you say furnishing date of birth and place of birth is not mandatory, then why are these columns there in the NPR form? If all this is not mandatory then why have you included it in the law? For how long will you fool people?"

She further stated: "Who are they to accord citizenship? If we are not citizens then with whose votes are you in power? Who made you the Prime Minister? How can you say voters are not citizens?"

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