Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said the central government “will not rest” until the undocumented migrants from persecuted communities from the three neighbouring communities were given citizenship, PTI reported. He also accused the Opposition party leaders of misleading the public on the Citizenship Amendment Act, and challenged them to prove that the law can take away anyone’s citizenship.
“You Congress leaders, listen carefully...oppose it as much as you can, but we will rest only after giving citizenship to all these people,” Shah said at a rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur city in support of the amended citizenship law. “Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Christian refugees from Pakistan have as much right over India as you and I. They are the sons and daughters of India. The country will embrace them.”
Shah reiterated his earlier claim that there was no provision to take away citizenship in the amended citizenship law and it was meant for providing it. He claimed that during the last Rajasthan Assembly elections, the Congress had promised to provide citizenship to undocumented migrants from Hindu and SIkh communities. “But now they are opposing the BJP...[Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok] Gehlotji, check your manifesto,” he said.
The home minister alleged that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were spreading misinformation about the amended Citizenship Act. He attacked the Congress saying the party divided the country on religious lines during Partition.
“The Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Jain, who lived in both East and West Pakistan wanted to come here, but they stayed there because of the bloodshed,” he said. “The leaders of our country then assured them that they will be welcome here and given citizenship whenever they arrive.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, notified on January 10, 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 and sparked protests for excluding Muslims. At least 26 people died in protests against the legislation last month.
The Congress, several other Opposition parties, and a few of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s allies have opposed the CAA saying that it has the potential to exclude a large number of members of the Muslim community when clubbed with the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register.
The population register is linked to the Census, due in 2021, and is a list of “usual residents” in the country. However, it has also been linked to the NRC – a proposed nationwide exercise to identify undocumented migrants and differentiate them from citizens of India. The Census of India website has described the NPR as “the first step towards the creation of a NRC”.
Shah also said that those who indulged in “anti-national” sloganeering at Jawaharlal Nehru University belonged to prison, The Indian Express reported. “Some students raised anti-national slogans in JNU saying, ‘Bharat tere tukde ho ek hazaar, Inshallah, Inshallah’ [India will be divided into several parts, God willing],” the minister alleged. “Shouldn’t they be sent to jail? Anybody who raises anti-national slogans belongs in jail.”