West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday (December 14) warned of strict action amid violent agitations and vandalism in several places across the state by people protesting against the amended Citizenship Act.
Banerjee’s reaction comes after a portion of a railway station complex in West Bengal’s Howrah district was set on fire by a mob who also thrashed security personnel guarding it.
Hundreds of people who were protesting since morning had blocked roads in and around the Sankrail railway station and had set a few shops on fire, police sources said.
“Later in the afternoon, they entered the station complex and set the ticket counter on fire. When RPF and railway personnel tried to stop them, they were beaten up,” a senior Railway Protection Force official said. Train services have been affected.
She appealed to people to maintain calm and protest democratically. “Do not take up law in your hand. Do not put up road blockades and rail blockades and create trouble for the
common people on the roads,” Banerjee said in a statement released from the chief minister’s office.
“Do not cause damage to government properties. Strict action would be taken against those who are found guilty in creating disturbances,” the statement quoted her as saying.
She also reiterated that the amended Citizenship Act and the proposed country-wide NRC will not take effect in the state.
“It is my request, don’t create confusion among people,” she said. Protests over the amended Citizenship Act have reached the shores of West Bengal with agitators resorting to violence and arson at railway stations and thoroughfares across the state, seeking immediate revocation of the law.
The legislation has put the Northeast on boil as people fear that it may exacerbate the problem of illegal immigration, while Muslims across the country apprehend that the move could be a precursor to the country-wide implementation of the National Register for Citizens (NRC).
(With inputs from agencies)