New Delhi: In a setback to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Calcutta High Court on Monday directed the state government to stop all ads which said that neither the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) nor National Register of Citizens (NRC) would be implemented in the state.
The court fixed January 9, 2020, as the next date of hearing in the case. Till then, however, Monday’s directive will continue to be the interim order.
The development came after petitioners approached the court against the advertisements, which have appeared on local news channels in recent days, featuring the Chief Minister herself. In these ads, she is seen assuring the people of her state that the two moves will not be implemented in West Bengal.
Last week, Mamata Banerjee, who has been the most vocal critic of the Centre over the twin moves, had conducted four anti-CAA, anti-NRC rallies in Kolkata in four days. She has regularly butted heads with the BJP, especially Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, over the issue and was also the first Chief Minister in the country to declare that neither CAA nor NRC would be implemented in the state.
She also made a bizarre remark that a referendum should be conducted in the United Nations over the CAA, remarking that she would quit if it is found that the CAA enjoys ‘huge support.’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, in his speech at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Sunday, had lashed out at her over her remark.
The CAA aims to give Indian citizenship to religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who came to India before December 31, 2014. However, the exclusion of Muslims from the list has triggered protests, often violent, in many parts of the country.
NRC, meanwhile, is an exercise to identify ‘infiltrators’ living in India. Over 19 lakh people, mostly Hindus, were found to be ‘infiltrators,’ in the most recent NRC conducted in the country, in Assam.