'Your job isn't to set India afire, but to douse it'

'Your job isn't to set India afire, but to douse it'

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a protest rally against NRC and Citizenship Amendment Act, in Kolkata, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. (PTI Photo)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday attacked Union Home Minister Amit Shah over violent protests against the new citizenship law, saying his job is not to set the country on fire but to put it out.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas' slogan, she said the BJP government has brought "satyanaash" (disaster) for everyone in the country.

Banerjee also wondered whether the BJP has become a "washing machine" for legitimising citizenship.

"I urge Home Minister Amit Shah to ensure that the nation does not burn. Your job is not to set the country on fire, but to douse it," she said after leading a protest march against the new citizenship law from Howrah Maidan to Esplanade in Kolkata.

Violent protests against the amended Citizenship Act have erupted in several states of the country including West Bengal. Agitators had set fire to trains, railway station complexes and buses in different parts of the state on Saturday and Sunday.

Appealing to Shah to take care of the country and "control" BJP cadres, the Trinamool Congress supremo iterated her stand of not implementing the NRC and the amended Citizenship Act saying they were "two sides of the same coin".

"You (Shah) said none will lose citizenship. But now you are (also) saying neither PAN, nor Aadhaar will prove citizenship. Then what will work? An amulet from the BJP? The BJP has become a washing machine," Banerjee said.

She asked, if Aadhaar is not a proof of citizenship, why was it linked to welfare schemes and the banking system?

Attacking the prime minister, Banerjee said, "You are speaking of sabka saath, sabka vikas. But in reality you have done sabka satyanaash (disaster for all)."

Accusing the BJP of planning to turn the entire country into a detention centre, the chief minister said in the rally she will never allow that to happen.

The TMC supremo who has been at the forefront of opposing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the new citizenship law, has conducted three protest marches across the city since Monday. She is scheduled to hold two protest meetings in the next two days.

Banerjee urged agitators not to take the path of violence but protest in a democratic way.

Banerjee claimed that the Centre stopped long distance railway services in West Bengal over "one or two minor incidents" of violence.

"North Bengal has been cut off from South Bengal. I would request the central government to resume the services. People are facing a lot of problems," she said.

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