AFTER Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has sent unambiguous message across the nation that government will not roll back the Citizenship (Amended) Act for granting citizenship to the refugees belonging to the 6 minority communities living in India being deprived of any legal rights including government facilities, jobs and passport for travelling abroad. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Paris and Christians who arrived in India due to religious persecution as on December 2014 will be given citizenship under the CAA amidst accusations being made by the opposition that the act is violative of the Constitution enshrining secular national polity. Addressing a rally in Rajasthan’s historic city Jodhpur on January 3 where over 25,000 refugees are living minus any legal rights over the years, HM Amit Shah asked Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as to why she is opposed to the refugees who needed recognition as Indian citizens. Amit Shah said the government remained on implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act despite the Opposition’s ‘misinformation campaign’. Launching an “awareness programme”, in the city, which is represented in the state legislative assembly by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, he said the Congress is misleading Muslims over the Act and challenged party leader Rahul Gandhi to debate the issue with him. Amit Shah, who is also the BJP president, said the party had to launch this programme to counter the misinformation campaign by the Opposition parties on the amended law. “Let all these parties come together. The Bharatiya Janata Party is not going back an inch on the CAA,” he said at the meeting.The Home Minister said it is “shameful” that the Congress is criticising the sacrifice of great sons of the country, like Veer Savarkar, for the sake of its vote bank. Opposition parties have criticised the amendment saying that it benefits non-Muslims as it will be easier to obtain citizenship.
“The law is not against the minorities,” Amit Shah said.“There is no provision in the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to take anyone’s citizenship away but it is a law to grant citizenship. We have not kept out any religion. We are giving citizenship to minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan whether they are Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi or Christian,” he said.“Rahul baba, if you have read the law come anywhere for a discussion. If you haven’t read it, I will get it translated into Italian,” he said. Amit Shah said Congress leaders too had in the past talked about granting citizenship to those who faced religious persecution in neighbouring countries, but the party did not implement the suggestions due to the fear of losing its vote bank.“Mahatma Gandhi had made the promise. Was he communal? Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had also said in Parliament that citizenship will be granted to Hindus or Sikhs who have come. Were they communal?” he said.
“These refugee brothers were millionaires and today they have no place to live. There they had many bighas of land and here they have nothing to eat,” Shah said. The same day in Guwahati, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam’s Finance Minister said the ongoing anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) agitation is taking a distinctive political colour and the BJP is ready to take up the challenge that might emerge if a new regional political formation takes shape from it. Addressing media Sarma, who is NEDA convenor, said the CAA issue is now before the Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court will hear the matter on January 22. If we have made any mistakes in framing the law, the Supreme Court will decide about it. And if we have done things correctly, then also the Supreme Court will decide. But, the anti-CAA agitation is slowly taking a political colour. Everybody is saying that their aim is to form a political party or to prepare a political alternative in Assam by means of the agitation. So some political aims are getting reflected in midst of the agitation,” he said adding that even if a new political party emerges, such a force cannot contest the next elections only on the back of just one issue. View on other issues affecting Assam? Once those things become clear, we will also respond politically. If the matter remains confined to only a democratic agitation on the issue of CAA, then we have nothing to say. But, if a political platform emerges, then BJP will consider it as a political challenge and will go before the masses seeking a political mandate (in our favour)… Now agitationists are speaking more about forming a political party and less about the Act,” Sarma reasoned. Ruling BJP will hold a State-level convention of its booth presidents and elected representatives, at the Veterinary College playground, Khanapara.BJP’s national working president JP Nadda will address the event, which will be attended by over 90,000 party cadres, he added(with inputs from The Assam Tribune ). Sarma said that BJP cadres have faced threats and intimidations at many places during the past few weeks.