Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is on a two-day visit to West Bengal, once again locked horns with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). On May 5, at a rally in Siliguri, north Bengal, Amit Shah revived the spectre of the CAA and promised to implement the controversial Act across the country once the coronavirus pandemic was over. He also accused the ruling Trinamool Congress in the State of spreading rumours about the CAA. Mamata, in her counter, said she would not implement the Act in Bengal.
"I want to make it clear that Trinamool Congress is spreading rumours that CAA will not be implemented. As soon as the COVID pandemic is over, we will implement CAA…. Mamata didi you want infiltration to continue and you do not want to give citizenship to refugees who have come to Bengal. But Trinamool people hear me out, CAA was, is, and will be a reality," said Amit Shah. Mamata struck back saying that the BJP was a habitual liar and that everyone in the country was a citizen. "I consider continuous lying to be a kind of corruption… and saying the same thing repeatedly—his master’s voice, like a parrot—is also corruption. Already everybody is a citizen… If people are not citizens then how did they cast their votes? They have elected the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister. He has no right to use the issue of citizenship to insult people," said Mamata Banerjee at a press conference.
The Union Home Minister also attacked the State government on a number of other issues, including violence, corruption, cut-money and the killing of BJP workers. Amit Shah said, "After coming to power for the third consecutive time, we believed that Mamata didi would rectify her ways, but she did not…. Until you end corruption, violence, cut-money and syndicates (a euphemism for extortionists and other criminal elements operating in the private housing and infrastructure industries), the BJP will continue to fight you.".
Mamata pointed to the infighting within the BJP in Bengal and wondered if Amit Shah was even aware of it. "He need not bother with what is happening in Bengal. He is the Home Minister, so he should look after Delhi, see what is happening in Uttar Pradesh, or how journalists were abused in Madhya Pradesh…. Bengal is not within his control, so it is not proper for him to speak ill of the State," said Mamata.
In his speech Amit Shah also brought up the incidence of crime in the State, particularly the massacre at Bogtui village in Birbhum on March 21, in which nine people including seven women and a child were burnt alive, and the rape and death of a minor at Hanshkhali, Nadia, on April 14. Quoting the words used by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its report on the post-poll violence in Bengal in 2021, Amit Shah said, "Here there is no rule of law, but law of the ruler…. Whenever anything happens in the country, Didi sends Trinamool delegations to those places, but Didi, why did you not send any team to BIrbhum or Nadia?"
Reacting to the allegations, Mamata said, "Is he the Home Minister of India or the Home Minister of Bengal? Law and order (in the State) is not his subject. What he is saying his rubbish and beyond his jurisdiction."