Leading the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC)from the front chief minister Mamata Banerjee today dared the Centre to dismiss her government and asserted that the two could be implemented in Bengal “over her dead body.” Banerjee took part in a mega rally from Red Road to Jorasanko Thakur Bari and alleged a few people were paid by the BJP to unleash violence in the state. Thousands of Trinamul activists and supporters joined her with placards that read “No CAA” and “No NRC”.

“As long as I am alive, I will never implement the CAA or NRC in the state. You can very well dismiss my government or put me behind bars but I will never implement this black law. We will continue to protest democratically till this law is scrapped. If they want to implement it in Bengal they will have to do it over my dead body,” she challenged the Centre. “No one will be driven out of the state. We believe in coexistence of all religions, castes and creeds,” Banerjee said while reading out an ‘oath’ for her party workers at the beginning of the rally near a statue of BR Ambedkar on Red Road.

She urged agitators not to indulge in vandalism and arson and cautioned them that such acts would only undermine the very rationale of the protest. “If you indulge in violence, you cause lot of inconvenience to the common people. Those who support your cause get angry and you would lose their support,” she reminded them. She further alleged that railway services have been suspended in most parts of the state by the Centre “just because a few trains have been set on fire”.

The chief minister also condemned the police action on students at Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi and said it should not have happened. Banerjee asked the BJP to stop “lecturing her on how to handle the situation” and said it should take care of the states it rules in the North East. “The centre had asked me whether I need central forces to control the situation. I have told them I have full faith on my state police. The BJP is busy lecturing others but it should first take care of law and order situation in states where they are in power,” she said.

She also urged the people of the state to send “lakhs of letters” to President Ram Nath Kovind, opposing the amended Citizenship Act and the NRC and, if needed, use your “own blood instead of ink” to write them. “From the Jawaharlal Nahru-government to the one led by Narendra Modi all are elected by the people of the country who are bonafide citizens of India. If they now turn out not to be the citizens of the country, then the elected government is illegal, as foreigners have voted for them,” Banerjee said.

Hitting back at the governor, Jagdeep Dhankhar, who had called the rally as “unconstitutional and inflammatory act” on social media, Banerjee said, “You have given us enough lectures on Constitution, now you give us time and hear our appeal against CAB and NRC. The CM urged her party workers to fix appointment with the governor and appeal against NRC and CAB.