Soon after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday participated in a demonstration being held by the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
"Students are protesting. They are our country's pride. Students'' movements have always shown the way. We, here in Bengal, were the first to start this movement. Yesterday the central government forcibly issued the notification for CAA but it will not work until people accept it. We shall definitely not implement it," Mamata Banerjee said while addressing the students.
"In a democratic and secular country, any discrimination on religion cannot be allowed. Tomorrow it is Swami Vivekananda''s birthday. Some fly down from Delhi to glorify themselves over his name but we work on his ideals all through the year. Remember, inside Belur Math, there is a Dargah too," she added.
The West Bengal Chief Minister made it clear that she is not in favour of implementing CAA.
"Prime Minister Modi has come to Kolkata today and I have informed him that we will not implement CAA. We shall fight this along with other regional parties," she said.
In a reference to the left parties, she said: "Those that are trying to fish in troubled waters, let me tell them that they are the biggest dalal (brokers) of BJP."
Earlier in the day, during a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee demanded that both the CAA and NRC should be withdrawn.
"While speaking to Prime Minister, I told him that we are against CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and NRC. We want that CAA and NRC should be withdrawn," Ms Banerjee had informed media persons immediately after her meeting with the Prime Minister at the Raj Bhavan.
The Citizenship Amendment Act makes, for the first time, religion a test of citizenship. The government says it will help non-Muslim refugees from three neighbouring Muslim-dominated countries become citizens if they fled to India because of religious persecution. Critics say it violates secular tenets of the Constitution and discriminates against Muslims.