All India Majlis-e-Ittahadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday criticised Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat for saying that the Muslim community was misled by people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Owaisi said that the Muslims were not kids who could be misguided.
“BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] didn’t mince words about what CAA+NRC [Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens] were meant to do,” Owaisi tweeted. “If it’s not about Muslims, just remove all references to religion from the law? Know this: we’ll protest again and again till there are laws that require us to prove our Indianness.”
Owaisi also hit out at Opposition parties for being silent amid protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“We’ll protest against any law with religion as basis of citizenship,” he added. “I also want to tell Congress, RJD [Rashtriya Janata Dal] their clones: your silence during the agitation is not forgotten. While BJP leaders were calling people of Seemanchal ghuspethiye [intruders], RJD-INC didn’t open their mouths once.”
In his address to the country on Sunday, Bhagwat had said that “opportunists unleashed organised violence” in the name of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. “CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act] does not oppose any particular religious community,” he claimed. “But those who wanted to oppose this new law misled our Muslim brothers by propagating a false notion that it was aimed at restricting the Muslim population.”
Owaisi had also sharply criticised the Centre’s response to the communal violence in Delhi in February. He accused Union Home Minister Amit Shah of openly defending the Delhi Police in his reply in the Lok Sabha in March. The leader had also pointed out that Shah had avoided commenting on BJP leaders who made provocative remarks ahead of the violence.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. Protests against the CAA had started in Delhi in mid-December and spread across the country.