Updated: January 13, 2020 1:52:05 pm
West bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and opposition Congress and CPI(M) on Sunday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making a “political speech” at a spiritual place like Belur Math.
Claiming the countrywide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) have cornered the Centre, the TMC, CPI(M) and the Congress said the Prime Minister should have “spared the holy land of Belur Math from his divisive politics”.
State minister Sovandeb Chatterjee said he tried to polarise the people on religious lines. “I don’t think he spoke like a Prime Minister, but like a political leader. He has given his take on the CAA. We believe that the CAA is unconstitutional and goes directly against Article 14 of Indian Constitution. The matter is in the Supreme Court where about 60 petitions on this have been filed. We will wait for the apex court ruling on this,” he said.
TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said it only proves the desperation of the Centre and that it is on the backfoot after countrywide anti-CAA protests. “We condemn such cheap politics at a religious place like Belur Math. The people of India will never accept the CAA.”
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, is known across the world as a holy land. “The Prime Minister should have refrained from making a political speech there. We condemn it. He should not have turned Belur Math into a venue of a political rally. There is some decorum in politics and public life, we need to maintain it,” Chowdhury said.
CPI(M) politburo member Mohammed Salim said he has used the stage of Belur Math to indulge in religious politics. “It is very unfortunate.” Adding that the BJP leaders are misleading the people with various interpretations of the CAA and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).
He, however, added that he was hopeful that the monks of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission would condemn PM Modi’s “political speech” at Belur Math.
Prime Minister Modi, while addressing a programme in Belur Math on Sunday, strongly defended the new citizenship law, saying that the dispute that has arisen over it has made the world aware of the persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan.
He, however, deplored that a section of the youth is being “misguided” over the CAA, which is aimed at giving and not taking away anybody’s citizenship rights.
The Ramakrishna Math and Mission on Sunday distanced itself from Modi’s speech on the CAA, contending that it was a strictly apolitical body, which did not respond to “ephemeral” calls.
BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha hit back at the CPI(M) and Congress, saying they should stop “lecturing on right and wrong”.
“The CPI(M), which is a party of atheists, is lecturing us on Belur Math,” he asserted.
With PTI inputs
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