As many as 76 members of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s minority cell in Madhya Pradesh have quit over the Citizenship Amendment Act, the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register, The Indian Express reported on Friday.
This is the second wave of resignations. As many as 48 members of the minority cell, including Bhopal district minority cell vice president Adil Khan and state media chief Javed Baig, had quit last week.
“Only we know how difficult it is for us to get our community members to vote for the BJP and we do everything to persuade them, but if the BJP keeps talking about contentious issues like these, it will become more and more difficult for us,’’ Rajik Qureshi Farshiwala, who is known to be close to senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, said. Farshiwala is among those who have quit the BJP.
Most people who resigned were booth-level office-bearers from Indore, Mhow, Khargone and Dewas areas. “We appreciated the ruling in Babri Masjid-Ram temple case and did not oppose the triple talaq legislation, but more contentious issues like Common Civil Code appear to be in pipeline,” Farshiwala said. “How long will we get caught up in Hindu-Muslim issues? Will our children not get a chance to pursue higher studies?”
Indore minority cell General Secretary Waseem Iqbal Khan said: “We can’t be going back to our community with contentious issues such as triple talaq, Ram temple-Babri Masjid, abrogation of Article 370 and so on,” according to News18. “The CAA, NRC and other such legislations are an attempt to create hate in the minds of the 85% of the population against those who roughly make 15% of the same. We can’t expect 31% illiterate people of the country to furnish their citizenship documents with ease.”
BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said he did not know about the resignations and added that he will speak to individual leaders. “They have apparently been misled by vested interests and the party leadership will certainly address their concerns,” he said, according to IANS.
CAA, NRC and NPR
The Citizenship Amendment Act 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. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam.
The BJP has refused to cede ground to the protestors, who have demanded a rollback of all three of the government’s moves. The citizens’ register is a proposed nationwide exercise to identify undocumented immigrants, and the government’s critics fear that since a religion criteria has now been added to the Citizenship Act, only Muslims will be disproportionately affected by NRC. The National Population Register is the first step towards NRC. A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court asking the government to explain the link between the two.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP have repeatedly lashed out at protestors and Opposition parties for taking to the streets against the citizenship law.