A day after the Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, paving the way for giving Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, protests erupted in Kolkata and other parts of the state with many demanding scrapping of the soon-to-be-enacted law.
In Kolkata, a scuffle broke out between BJP and Congress workers in Central Avenue as a Congress rally protesting against the CAB and rise of dengue cases in the city was passing by the BJP office where they were celebrating the passage of the Bill.
The rally, which was set to culminate at the TMC-run Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) headquarters in Esplanade area, was stopped midway by BJP workers. As workers of both parties shouted slogans, the situation turned violent and police had to step in. To prevent the situation from escalating, a huge contingent of police rushed to the spot to control the workers. Soon the situation was brought under control. There was no report of any serious injury.
“We were taking out a peaceful rally. BJP workers provoked us and pelted stones at us. Our workers showed a lot of restraint,” said a Congress leader.
The BJP, on the other hand, accused the Congress workers of provocation. “Our workers have been celebrating the passage of CAB since morning outside our party office. Suddenly a Congress rally was passing by our office. Their workers pelted stones at us and disrupted our programme. Our workers only protested against that,” state BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu said.
In the evening, students of the Presidency University took out a march from College Street Campus protesting against the Bill and tried to demonstrate outside the BJP’s state headquarters. They had planned to distribute BJP workers copies of the Indian Constitution. However, the students were stopped midway by the police who put up barricades. The protesters then staged a sit-in at the spot and shouted slogans against the BJP.
In Birbhum district, members of Bangla Sanskriti Mancha took out a rally in Murarai to protest against CAB. They also put up a road blockade at Murarai railway station which was lifted after some time. President of Bangla Sanskriti Mancha, Samirul Mancha said they don’t want either CAB or NRC to be implemented in the country. “We strongly oppose CAB and NRC (National Register of Citizens). These should not be implemented anywhere in the country,” said Islam.