Chandra Kumar Bose, the vice president of Bharatiya Janata Party’s West Bengal unit, on Monday defied the party line to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act. Bose, who is the grandnephew of Subhash Chandra Bose, said that India was always open to all religions and communities.
“If CAA2019 is not related to any religion why are we stating - Hindu, Sikh, Boudha, Christians, Parsis & Jains only!” Bose tweeted. “Why not include #Muslims as well? Let’s be transparent.” In another tweet, he said, “Don’t equate India or compare it with any other nation- as it’s a nation open to all religions and communities.”
He also pointed out that Muslims too were persecuted in the three countries. “...What about Baluch who live in Pakistan & Afghanistan?” Bose asked in another tweet on Tuesday. “What about Ahwadiyya [Ahmadiyya] in Pakistan?”
The Citizenship Amendment Act aims to provide Indian citizenship to people from six persecuted minority religious communities in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, except Muslims, as long as people from these communities have entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
Bose’s comments came on a day when BJP Working President JP Nadda held a rally in Kolkata. Nadda said the Act does not violate the Constitution and claimed that opposition parties were misguiding people on the Citizenship Act. “Amended law grants citizenship, doesn’t take it away,” he said, adding that Muslims flourished in India but Hindus were tortured in Pakistan.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asserted that Indians will not be affected due to the Citizenship Amendment Act. Modi blamed the Congress and “urban Naxals” for propagating rumours that Muslims will be sent to detention centres. “Those who are the Muslims of this country’s soil, they have nothing to do with the citizenship law and the NRC,” he said. “Neither is anybody sending the nation’s Muslims to detention centres nor are there any detention centres in India. This is a white lie which is dividing the nation.”
Earlier, BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal had also demanded that Muslims should be included in the amended law.
There have been massive protests across the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Twenty-four people have been killed across India in the anti-Citizenship Act protests that erupted days after the Parliament passed the bill on December 11. The first deaths were reported in Assam where the police opened fire on protestors on December 17. Two people were killed in police firing in the coastal city of Mangaluru in Karnataka on December 19. The highest number of deaths have been reported from Uttar Pradesh, where 11 people were killed on December 20.
Over the last week, the internet was suspended in the whole of Uttar Pradesh and in several districts in other states, with bans imposed on public gatherings under Section 144 in several states. Thousands of protestors were detained across the country, with 3,000 detentions in the state of Assam alone, where 329 people were arrested. On a single day – December 19 – the authorities confirmed 1,200 people had been detained in Delhi.
The police fired tear gas shells in two university campuses and a hospital as street battles raged between the police and the protestors in many places across the country. Many protestors and policemen have been injured. In some places, property was damaged.