A Bharatiya Janata Party councillor in the city of Indore in Madhya Pradesh resigned from the party on Saturday in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, and accused it of discriminating against Muslims, The Indian Express reported.
Usman Patel, the municipal councillor from Khajrana locality, alleged that the BJP practises the politics of hatred. He told the newspaper that he took time to quit the saffron outfit because he wanted to understand the finer points of the law from advocates. Patel said he had joined the BJP after being inspired by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The councillor told ANI that was not addressing the real problems the country is facing. “It’s doing only communal politics,” he added. “GDP is going doing, inflation is rising but the party is bringing laws that create rift between people of all religions.”
Last month, 124 members of the BJP minority cell in the state had quit the party in protest against the citizenship law, the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens, and the National Population Register. Most of them were booth-level office-bearers from Indore, Mhow, Khargone and Dewas areas.
One of those who quit was Rajik Qureshi Farshiwala, who was known to be close to senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya. “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,’’ he said.
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. The government’s critics fear that since religion is now a criterion in the law, it can be misused along with the NRC to target Muslims. The objective of NRC is to identify undocumented Muslims.