Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday wondered how the Centre would provide jobs, housing and other facilities to refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan seeking Indian citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act’s provisions.
“There are three to four crore non-Muslims in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan,” Kejriwal told News18 in an interview. “If they come to the country, who will give them jobs, where will you make them stay? Will you give them housing in Delhi, Mumbai, Assam, Tripura? Today, there is unemployment everywhere. Our first priority should be to provide employment to our youth. We want to give it to Afghans, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis.”
Parliament approved the amended citizenship law on December 11. It grants citizenship to six persecuted religious communities – except Muslims – in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, provided they have lived in India for six years. The cutoff date, according to the law, is December 31, 2014.
Kejriwal said most refugees do not possess documents. “The Indian government will make documents for those who come from Pakistan,” he said. “But we will have a National Register of Citizens. What will happen to those who don’t have documents? They will be thrown out of the country.”
The chief minister of Delhi said he was trying to understand why the citizenship law was amended at a time when the Indian economy is slowing down. “Onion prices have touched Rs 200 per kg, potato prices are rising,” he added. “All factories are closing.”
Kejriwal questioned the need for the amendments. “Was this the only problem left in the country?” he asked. “What was the need to inflame the whole country? Today, our children are being attacked with batons. Girls are being beaten up by entering their hostels. Students in as many as 33 universities are on the streets protesting. Make the students study instead. They are the future of the country.”
The Aam Aadmi Party leader said he was deeply worried about the state of the country and the current situation in Delhi. “This law has been made only to benefit Bangladeshis and Pakistanis,” he added.
Kejriwal urged the Narendra Modi government to repeal the Citizenship Amendment Act “and call a meeting of chief ministers of all states, to discuss how to get rid of recession, inflation, how to start factories again, and so on”.
Manish Sisodia accuses BJP of fanning violence
Meanwhile, Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of fanning the violence in the city. “The people of Delhi want peace,” tweeted. “Fearing its defeat in the elections, the BJP is frustrated and is up to instigating riots. Before 2015, this party instigated riots in Trilokpuri and Bawana. But the people of Delhi taught BJP a lesson for instigating riots, it will again do the same.” Assembly elections in Delhi are due early next year.
On Sunday, protests against the citizenship law led by students of Jamia Millia Islamia University turned violent. The Delhi Police entered the university campus and assaulted students. A number of protestors were also detained. The police action caused students in colleges across India to erupt in spontaneous protests.
On Tuesday, fresh clashes erupted in Seelampur area of Delhi, with protestors burning buses and throwing stones at the police. The police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. The Delhi High Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a plea seeking the appointment of a fact-finding committee to investigate the police’s actions in Jamia.