Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said the Citizenship Amendment Act will not be withdrawn, amid ongoing protests against the legislation. Addressing a rally in Lucknow, as part of the government’s outreach programme on the amended citizenship law, Shah said, “Let me say this here and now, this law will not be withdrawn, no matter who protests.”

Shah challenged Opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati for a discussion on Citizenship Amendment Act in public forum, PTI reported.

He said the Opposition “can’t see the reality because their eyes are covered with the mask of vote bank politics”. Shah claimed there was no provision in the law to take away anyone’s citizenship and attacked Opposition for spreading “lies” about the Act.

“At the time of Partition, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains constituted 30% of the population in [present-day] Bangladesh and 23% in Pakistan,” the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said, according to The Indian Express. “But today, it’s just 7% and 3%, respectively. Where have these people gone? Those who are protesting against Citizenship Act, I want to ask them this.”

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11 and 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 for excluding Muslims, leading to protests against it.