There seems to be a lot of confusion about a nationwide NRC in the BJP. What do you have to say?
Right now, the focus is on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. NRC is a proposed activity the Home Minister has announced to be taken up in 2021. No details have been made available to us. It is premature to talk about it.
Why are there two views? BJP working president J P Nadda said on Thursday that NRC exercise will be there?
There are no two views, it is an announcement made by the Home Minister. Since it has to happen two years down the line and no details have been made known yet, it is not the time to talk about NRC. Right now, the government is implementing CAA.
But there have been protests across the country against it?
Violence is unfortunate. It is a result of a wrong propaganda and misinformation campaign unleashed by certain communal groups and political groups. We appeal to the people not to spread false propaganda. There is no need for any agitation. The Bill is not against the interest of anybody in India.
Most of the protests, including the ones led by the students, say its a law that discriminates on the basis of religion?
It is completely false. There’s no discrimination on the basis of religion. See, certain Acts are for certain groups in society. For example, in the Constitution, Article 25-30 exclusively deals with minorities. Does it mean they are discriminatory against the majority?
What do you appeal to the protesting students?
We want the students to read the Act. They should not resort to violence. There is no need for taking to streets as there is nothing against the interest of any section.
But in Assam, the protests are not about “discrimination”. What is BJP doing to bring normalcy there?
In Assam, there are some genuine concerns being expressed by the people. Assam has had waves of influx from the neighbourhood. So people of the state are concerned about their core identity, language, culture, demography etc. We understand their concerns. We would like to reassure the people of Assam that we will take all the measures to protect their identity. We are working on implementing Clause 6 of Assam Accord which gives protection to Assamese identity. I would like to differentiate between the communally motivated protests in the rest of the country and protests by people of Assam.
There is a view that protests have turned violent in the states ruled by BJP while other states have witnessed peaceful protests.
I don’t discriminate between BJP-ruled and non-BJP ruled states. It can be said the other way too — the protests in states where the BJP is in power are unnecessarily violent. But let’s not talk about it. Protests in a democratic country should not be violent.
Some, including a section of BJP leaders say these protests could polarise votes and it could be advantageous to the BJP in places like Delhi?
We have not done anything keeping any election in mind. We don’t want polarisation.
This is the first time after 2012 that street protests in India got international attention and support. Has it damaged the image of India?
Any violence will affect people inside and outside the country. We will make sure the situation becomes normal. In any case, law and order situation is a state subject. We would like the cooperation of all state governments.
What’s your comment on the view that the protest is a result of accumulated disenchantment against the government over joblessness and agrarian crisis?
It’s propaganda. If that’s the case, protests should have been held across the country. It’s not a nationwide phenomena.
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