Jaipur, January 3 (Th Hindu): In the midst of massive nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday said the government would “not go back an inch” to revoke the legislation even if all the Opposition parties come together and spread “misinformation with all [their] might.”
The amended citizenship law would not take away Indian citizenship from anyone, said Mr. Shah, while addressing a rally as part of the BJP’s campaign on the issue. “The CAA is meant to grant citizenship to the people facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The Congress and other parties are misleading the people to secure their vote banks,” he said.
Mr. Shah did not make any reference to the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register during his half-an-hour-long address. He said it was “absolutely wrong” to say that the CAA would create divisions between religious communities. “On the contrary, it is an inclusive law. It treats our persecuted brethren with respect.”
Previously, Mr. Shah told the Lok Sabha on December 9: “We are very clear that NRC will happen in this country.” And, speaking at a public rally in Delhi on December 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed there had been no discussion, no talk since he came to power in 2014.
The rally was the first event with which an awareness campaign of the BJP was launched to address people’s concerns over CAA and explain the statute’s objectives. Held on the home turf of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the rally was attended by a large number of BJP workers and common people.
“The Congress, Mamata Didi, SP, BSP, Kejriwal and company, Communists… All of them are opposing the CAA. I challenge them to debate with me. Rahul Baba, I will translate this law in Italian for you. Read it once,” Mr. Shah said, while affirming that the Opposition’s charge that it would take away the minorities’ citizenship was wrong.
Mr. Shah said the BJP-led government at the Centre, under the leadership of Mr. Modi, had resolved the issues afflicting the nation for the last 70 years in just eight months. “Nobody could have thought that issues like Article 370, triple talaq, Ram temple’s construction and Pakistan-sponsored terrorism could be solved like this.”
The audience included Hindu migrants from Pakistan’s Sindh province staying in and around Jodhpur. A large number of migrants who crossed over to India from 1971 onwards have been granted citizenship, while many of them are waiting for completion of formalities. Jodhpur was selected as the venue for Mr. Shah’s rally in view of the significant number of Pakistani migrants living there.
Mr. Shah, who announced a toll-free number for registering support for CAA, also attacked Mr. Gehlot over the deaths of infants in a hospital in Kota. He said while Mr. Gehlot was busy opposing the CAA and bowing down before the ‘Delhi durbar’, mothers were losing their children in the south-eastern Rajasthan town.
(The featured image at the top shows Indian Home Minister Amit-Shah displaying mobile phone number to which support for citizenship act can be sent)