NEW DELHI, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) — Chief Minister of India’s eastern state of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hit the streets for the third straight day against the controversial new citizenship law, demanding its revocation, officials said.
Banerjee, along with her party colleagues, began a protest march from Howrah Maidan which culminated at Dorina Crossing at Esplanade in the heart of Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal.
She was accompanied by a huge number of people who also marched behind her carrying flags and banners.
Banerjee attacked India’s federal home minister Amit Shah who brought the law, and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of resorting to lies over the new citizenship law.
The new law triggered violent protests in West Bengal and other parts of India. The protesters in West Bengal set ablaze railway property including some trains last week.
Banerjee has said she would not stop the protest until the new law was revoked completely along with National Register of Citizens (NRC), promising that the new law would not be implemented in West Bengal.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on the first day of protest described Banerjee’s move as “unconstitutional” and had asked her not to take out the march, a call that Banerjee ignored.
She has announced back-to-back agitations against the citizenship law until Sunday.
Massive protests are going on across several Indian states and inside universities against the new citizenship law passed by Indian parliament last week.
The law aims at granting citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to six religions — Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Parsi and Christianity — from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, it has kept out Muslim immigrants from applying for citizenship.
Opposition parties and civil society members in India criticize the law as contrary to secular principles enshrined in India’s constitution as it excludes Muslims.
With the new law, the government would grant Indian citizenship to those non-Muslim immigrants who had entered the country illegally until Dec. 31, 2014. People in the northeastern states fear granting of citizenship to immigrants would endanger their status.
Four people were killed in police firing in Assam state during the protests.
Sixty petitions have been filed in India’s top court to challenge the new law.