The Congress on Monday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “not interested” in reading the Constitution, as a copy sent to him by the Opposition party on Republic Day purportedly could not be delivered.
On Sunday, the party had tweeted a screenshot showing it had ordered a copy of the Indian Constitution on Amazon, to be dispatched to the Central Secretariat. The text accompanying the screenshot read: “Dear PM, the Constitution is reaching you soon. When you get time off from dividing the country, please do read it.”
However, the Congress posted another screenshot of an Amazon order update on Monday, saying: “Your package is being returned to seller because it was refused at the delivery address or the order was cancelled.” The Congress said that it had attempted to send the Constitution to the prime minister, but “Modi ji is just not interested”. “Ab kare toh kare kya? [what should we do now?]” the tweet said.
According to the screenshot posted on Sunday, the Congress had placed a “pay-on-delivery” order, which meant it was to be paid for by the recipient upon delivery.
The Congress on Sunday had also tweeted videos of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former party chief Rahul Gandhi, and General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra reading the Preamble at a protest at Rajghat.
The party alleged that the government has been subverting the Constitution. It said the Bharatiya Janata Party has failed to understand that all people, irrespective of creed, caste or gender, are guaranteed equality before the law under Article 14 of the Constitution. “It is this article that is completely violated by the government’s Citizenship Amendment Act,” the party said.
The party said laws based on discrimination were unconstitutional. The Citizenship Amendment Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. The government’s critics and some protestors fear that the amended law and the National Register of Citizens will be misused to target Muslims since the Citizenship Act now has religion as a criterion. 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. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam.
Congress questions Adnan Sami’s Padma Shri award
On Sunday, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh questioned why the Citizenship Amendment Act was brought in when someone like singer Adnan Sami can get Indian citizenship and the Padma Shri award. “I was criticised for recommending citizenship to Adnan Sami,” Singh said, according to News18. “I’m happy that he got citizenship and Padma Shri. If government can grant citizenship to a Pakistani Muslim, what is need to bring CAA? It has been implemented to create a rift between Hindus and Muslims.”
Sami, who was born in Lahore, arrived in India in 2001 on a tourist visa. His Pakistani passport issued on May 27, 2010, expired on May 26, 2015, and was not renewed. Subsequently, Sami applied for Indian citizenship, and it was granted on January 1, 2016. Last week, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman defended the Citizenship Amendment Act by citing the examples of singer Sami, and writer Taslima Nasreen, who fled Bangladesh due to religious persecution and is officially a citizen of Sweden, but lives in India on a residency permit.
Sami is among the 118 recipients of the Padma Shri award this year. Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill asked why “the son of a Pakistan Air Force pilot” was conferred with one of India’s highest civilian honour while a Kargil War veteran was declared foreigner. “Kargil War veteran and retired army officer Mohammad Sanaullah who fought for India declared ‘foreigner’ after NRC and Adnan Sami whose family fought against India honoured with Padma Shri – This is the magic of NRC and government chamchagiri,” Shergill said. “Is contribution ‘Yogdan’ to society or BJP government ‘gungan’ [praise] new criteria? Is this New India?”