Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Sunday said the Centre will not tolerate educational institutions turning into hubs of political activities “at any cost” as protests against the amendments to the Citizenship Act continued on campuses across India, PTI reported.
“Anyone is free to engage in political activities, but colleges and universities should be kept out of it, as many students come to study from far-off places,” he told reporters in Kolkata. “The Narendra Modi government is not going to tolerate this at any cost.”
The minister accused the Opposition of deliberately spreading misinformation about the amended citizenship law. “It is the Congress, which is responsible for the country’s division on religious grounds, that is spreading misinformation about CAA,” Pokhriyal said.
He said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee protested against illegal immigration in the state when she was an MP in 2005. “She had vociferously demanded the Citizenship Amendment Bill back then,” Pokhriyal said.
Pokhriyal claimed that Muslim population in India has grown from “9% during Independence to 14% at present”. “The Opposition is referring to Article 14 of the Constitution, but the Constitution is for the citizens of the country and it is not a charity house for the whole world,” he said, adding that there was equality for every citizen in the country irrespective of religion.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. At least 26 people have been killed in clashes between the police and the protestors, including 19 in Uttar Pradesh.