Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday told people protesting against the amendments to the Citizenship Act to expose the activities of Pakistan instead of opposing the legislation, ANI reported. Modi said Pakistan was formed on the basis of religion and religious minorities were persecuted there.

“The persecuted were forced to come to India as refugees,” Modi said while speaking at an event organised by the Siddaganga Math in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district. Modi is on a two-day visit to Karnataka to attend events in Tumakuru and Bengaluru.

“But Congress and its allies don’t speak against Pakistan, instead they are taking out rallies against these refugees,” he said. “I want to say that today need is to expose activities of Pakistan at the international level. If you have to agitate, raise your voice against Pakistan’s actions of last 70 years.”

The Congress, its allies and the eco-system created by them “are standing against the Indian Parliament”, Modi alleged, according to PTI. He added that India cannot leave the refugees fleeing Pakistan “to their fate” and said it was India’s responsibility to protect them.

The prime minister also defended the BJP government and said it was working for the welfare of the people and aimed to provide gas connections, toilets, electricity and internet to all homes across India, according to The Indian Express.

Later in the day, he released Rs 12,000 crores to the accounts of six crore families under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana.

There have been massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed NRC across India over the past month, resulting in the deaths of at least 26 people.

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.