3 BJP Workers Held for ‘Goli Maro’ Slogans Before Shah’s WB Rally
Amit Shah was in Kolkata to “clear the confusion” surrounding the amended Citizenship Act.
Three BJP workers have been arrested after a complaint was registered at New Market Police Station against them for raising '“desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maro...” (shoot the traitors) slogan in Esplanade area in Kolkata on Sunday, ANI reported on Monday, 2 March.
The West Bengal BJP unit on Sunday had come under fire after a group of people holding the party flag allegedly raised the incendiary slogan on their way to a rally of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Shah on Sunday arrived in Kolkata on a day-long visit, as citizens and Opposition parties protested against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), raising ‘Go back’ slogans.
Shah held a rally in the city to “clear the confusion” around the CAA.
As BJP prepared for Shah’s mega rally, many in Kolkata reported hearing ‘Goli Maaro’ slogans from the workers as they made their way to the rally’s venue.
According to PTI, the men shouted the slogan while they were passing the Maidan Market in Esplanade en route to the rally venue Shahid Minar ground.
This happened even as parts of the city saw protests against the home minister’s visit. Hundreds of protesters from the Left Front and Congress, holding black flags and anti-CAA posters, held a demonstration outside Gate No 1 of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.
Other protests saw a less aggressive approach with protesters offering Shah flowers, sweets and a ‘love letter’.
BJP Blames TMC as Bengal Oppn Condemns Sloganeering
The state BJP leadership, however, denied involvement of any party worker in the incident and termed it as the “handiwork of the TMC (Trinamool Congress)“.
When asked for a reaction on the incident, state BJP vice-president Subhas Sarkar told PTI no party workers were involved in this sloganeering. “It was a mega rally in Kolkata. We feel that it was the handiwork of the TMC to malign our party,” Sarkar said.
Senior CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim criticised the role of the Mamata Banerjee administration claiming that police were “inactive” against those raising the slogan.
“They (the BJP) are trying to vitiate the atmosphere of West Bengal. We had heard the 'goli maro' slogan in Delhi. Now, thanks to the Mamata Banerjee government and her police, who were mere spectator, we saw them shouting it here,” Salim told reporters.
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury condemned the incident.
“The BJP is trying to bring in a new culture to Bengal. This is not our culture. Whatever has happened today in Kolkata is deplorable. Mamata Banerjee has brought Shah to the city by allowing the BJP to hold the rally. And the police inaction shows that the state government has helped them,” Chowdhury told PTI over the phone.
Senior TMC leader Anubarata Mandal said people of Bengal would give a befitting reply to the “preachers of hate and divisive politics”.
‘Centre Won’t Stop Till Refugees are Granted Citizenship’: Shah
At the rally, Shah asserted that the Centre would not stop until all refugees in the country are granted citizenship under the amended Citizenship Act, and accused the opposition, including the Trinamool Congress, of misguiding refugees and minorities over the new law.
Not a single person will lose citizenship because of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Shah said at his first public rally in Kolkata after the 2019 general elections.
He also hit out at West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, who is a bitter critic of the CAA, accusing her of “only caring about infiltrators.”
At the rally, he said, “The opposition is terrorising the minorities. I assure every person from the minority community that the CAA only provides citizenship, does not take it away. It won't affect your citizenship.”
“The opposition parties are spreading canards that refugees will have to show papers but this is absolutely false. You don't have to show any paper. We will not stop until all refugees are granted citizenship,” Shah said.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought the CAA to give citizenship to the refugees, but Mamata Banerjee's TMC and other opposition parties were opposing it.
The Union minister accused Mamata Banerjee of “fuelling riots” during anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests last year when trains and railway stations were burnt, and challenged her to stop the implementation of the CAA.
Closed-Door Meeting With BJP Workers
After addressing the scheduled rally at Shaheed Minar Ground, where the state BJP felicitated Shah for the passage of CAA in Parliament. BJP National President JP Nadda attended the public meeting.
Further, the home minister inaugurated a new building of National Security Guards at Rajarhat and held a closed-door meeting with the state BJP leadership, with Nadda.
Shah and Nadda held a closed-door meeting with BJP party functionaries to reportedly finalise the party’s strategy for the upcoming municipal poll in the state, he said.
The election to 107 municipalities of the state and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) are being billed as “mini Assembly elections” ahead of the crucial 2021 Assembly poll in West Bengal.
“We will place our report on municipal polls before him and Naddaji,” the BJP leader said.
This was Shah’s second visit to West Bengal after assuming the office of Union Home Minister. He had addressed a seminar on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill at Netaji Indoor Stadium on 1 October 2019.
(With inputs from PTI)
(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)
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