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Apply for citizenship under CAA without fear: Union Minister Santanu Thakur exhorts Matuas

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NewsDrum Desk
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Kolkata, Apr 3 (PTI) Union Minister Santanu Thakur, who is seeking re-election from Bongaon Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal, on Wednesday urged members of the Matua community, who migrated to India before 2014, to apply for citizenship under the CAA, even if they already possess voting rights.

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Addressing a meeting at his constituency which has a large population of Matuas, Thakur said he himself would apply for citizenship under Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) though he is already a bona fide resident of the country.

"Applying for fresh citizenship under CAA will enable you to avail all benefits, including permanent residency proof which is necessary for passport and visa. Although I was born here and my grandfather had proof of residency after coming, I will still apply," Thakur said.

Thakur, a strong votary of CAA since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, had asserted in the past that the Act would be enforced before the 2024 general elections.

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In response to a barrage of attacks from the TMC and other parties accusing the BJP of using the CAA as a divisive tactic to deport hundreds of thousands of legitimate citizens to camps and polarise society ahead of elections, Thakur had recently announced his intention to apply for citizenship under the Act.

Thakur, a prominent member of the Matua community, seemingly took this step to dispel doubts among members of the Hindu community who migrated from Bangladesh or erstwhile East Pakistan after Independence due to the adverse situation there.

In response to Thakur's move, TMC spokesperson Santanu Sen ridiculed him and accused the BJP of misleading Matuas and other migrant Hindus, who are already citizens of the country.

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He claimed that the BJP notified the CAA just before the general elections with an eye on the Hindu vote.

"If Santanu Thakur is already a citizen, why he needs to apply under CAA once more? Is he hiding anything? Did Narendra Modi induct someone in his cabinet who was a non-citizen of the country?," Sen, a former Rajya Sabha member, asked.

Thakur had defeated his nearest TMC rival, Mamatabala Thakur, who is also an influential leader of the Matua community, in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls where the CAA and NRC issues were the main poll planks. PTI SUS MNB

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