As protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act show no signs of dying down across the country, Union Home Minister Amit Shah dug in his heels, saying the government would not budge an inch on its decision to implement the legislation despite the Opposition criticism.
Launching an “awareness programme” in support of the amended citizenship law at a rally in Jodhpur, Shah accused the Congress and other opposition parties of running a misinformation campaign. “Even if all these parties come together, BJP will not move back even an inch on this issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act. You can spread as much misinformation as you want,” Amit Shah said.
Shah also said the CAA does not take away Indian citizenship from anyone but grants citizenship while accusing the Congress of playing vote-bank politics by spreading “misinformation”.
“No provision in the Citizenship Amendment Act to take anyone’s citizenship away, it is a law to grant citizenship. Minorities living honourably in India while their percentage declined in neighbouring countries,” the Home Minister said.
The Jodhpur rally by Shah is the first of 30 mega rallies planned by the BJP across the country to reach out to people on the new citizenship law, NRC and NPR. According to Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the city has around 25,000 refugees from Pakistan seeking citizenship under the new law.
Earlier on Thursday, the minister said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was not on the agenda of the government yet. However, asked if it had been put in cold storage, he said he had never said that and added that the CAA should be discussed now. He also targeted the Opposition for spreading misinformation about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
“Pradhanmantri ne ye kaha hai ki abhi NRC nahi aa raha hai. Aur main bhi keh raha hun ki abhi NRC ki charcha nahi hai (The PM has only said that NRC is not coming as yet. I am also saying that there is no talk of NRC now),” Shah said during an interview to ABP News.
Kerala CM writes to non-BJP-ruled state
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Friday wrote letters to 11 non-BJP chief ministers in the country in a bid to build unity among the states against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) enacted by Parliament in December last year. The move comes days after the Kerala Assembly passed a resolution demanding the scrapping of the controversial law that seeks to give citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Vijayan has written letters to chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Puducherry, Rajasthan and West Bengal. Bihar is the only state among the lot where the BJP is an alliance partner. The rest of the states are ruled by Congress, Congress-led coalitions and regional parties.
In his letter, CM Vijayan writes, “Apprehensions have risen among large sections of our society consequent to the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The need of the hour is unity among all Indians to protect and preserve our cherished values of democracy and secularism. People from various cross-sections of the society irrespective of any differences they might have a need to stand united in preserving the basic tenets of our polity which form the cornerstone of Indian democracy.”-IE