In remarks meant to assuage Muslim concerns over the new citizenship law and the National Population Register, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday said “no one can dare touch an Indian Muslim” and “if anyone has any complaint, they can come to us… we will stand with that Muslim”.
Addressing a rally in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Shatabdi Nagar in Meerut, weeks after western UP towns witnessed violent protests over the new law and the proposed National Register of Citizens, Singh cautioned people against forces trying to “create a divide” on religious lines over the CAA.
Rejecting claims that Muslims will be “banished” via the NPR, he told the crowd: “Shouldn’t there be a register for the population of the country? I am asking you. But they say you are making a National Population Register and then you will bring NRC and banish all Muslims from India.”
“I also want to tell Muslims present here that nobody can dare touch any Muslim who is an Indian citizen (Koi ma ka laal chimte se bhi usko chhoo nahi payega). I want to assure you. If anyone has any complaint, they can come to us… we will stand with that Muslim… we never do politics without insaniyat,” he said.
Targeting the Congress for opposing the NPR and NRC, he said these exercises were mooted much before the BJP government came to power and that the NPR had been brought in 2010. He also recalled how Manmohan Singh, while speaking in Rajya Sabha in 2003, had favoured citizenship for Hindus and Sikhs persecuted in , Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
He said by bringing the CAA, the Modi government had fulfilled its promise of\ providing citizenship legally to those leading “jalalat ki zindagi” (life of humiliation and misery) in these countries.
“There are certain forces who want to create a divide between Hindus and Muslims on the issue of CAA. These forces have vested interests in creating a rift between communities. I appeal to everyone that communal tension should not be created,” he said.
He said the citizenship law is being viewed from a Hindu-Muslim perspective, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always stood for justice and humanity. “They are trying to defame our party as if we are discriminating on the basis of religion. Only the people can given a befitting response to them and you are doing it,” he said.
Earlier, speaking at the NCC Republic Day Camp in New Delhi, Singh said Indian values consider all religions equal and that is why the country is secular. He said it never became a theocratic state like Pakistan. “We said we would not discriminate among religions. Why did we do that? Our neighbouring country has declared that their state has a religion. They have declared themselves a theocratic state. We didn’t declare so.”
“Even America is a theocratic country. India is not a theocratic country. Why? Because our saints and seers did not just consider the people living within our borders as part of the family, but called everyone living in the world as one family,” he said.
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