Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday faced protests by Left-leaning students after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Raj Bhavan and allegedly "diluting the fight against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)".
At the meeting, Banerjee said she urged Modi to roll back the recent amendment to the Citizenship Act. Following this, she partook in a protest being staged by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) students’ wing against the legislation.
Banerjee later shared the dais with Modi at the launch of an interactive light and sound show at Millennium Park in the state capital.
The Left-leaning parties launched a protest at the Dorina Crossing at Esplanade after Banerjee rejoined the TMC Chhatra Parishad’s dharna.
Members of SFI, AISA, IC of Presidency University students' unions chanting 'Azadi' and 'Shame Shame' broke three barricades erected near the stage of the sit-in at Rani Rashmoni Avenue, not far from the Raj Bhavan, and demanded an explanation from Banerjee as she rushed to the venue from a programme attended by Modi.
The protesters asserted that Banerjee’s meeting with Modi had diluted the fight against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
SFI leader Tapas Das said the protests would go on as long as Modi is in the city until Sunday.
"We demanded an explanation from Mamata Banerjee about her meeting the prime minister at the Raj Bhavan and sharing the stage at an official programme. There is a secret understanding between Mamata Banerjee and Modi. She has been exposed," he said, adding the protesters will sit on a dharna till Modi leaves Kolkata.
Banerjee, who was seen arguing with the students, sought to clarify her stand and said it was her "constitutional obligation to meet the PM".
"I am the only leader who met Narendra Modi and told him that the CAA, NRC and NPR cannot be implemented. We have been protesting from day one against the CAA. The issue before both of us (TMCP and Left students' unions) is the same, so please don't deviate from it," she said.
“I request you all to protest in a democratic way. We should fight the anti-CAA battle together. We are fighting on the same issue," she told the students.
Banerjee also asked the TMCP students, who were separated by a barricade put up by police, to remain calm and not retaliate.
(With PTI inputs)