Updated: January 11, 2020 7:46:05 pm
The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Saturday passed a resolution demanding a rollback of the Citizenship Amendment Act, which was notified by the Home Ministry on January 10, and stopping the process of updating the National Population Register (NPR). The meeting was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi among other members.
The CWC, the party’s highest decision-making body, said the ill-conceived Act had led to spontaneous nationwide protests and the Centre used brute power to suppress the voice of students and youth.
“CAA has raised bonafide questions regarding its Constitutional validity and political morality. The CAA and proposed NRC have created an environment of fear and anxiety in the country especially among the religious and linguistic minorities, tribals, poor and the vulnerable sections of the society,” a CWC statement read.
“The CWC demands that Citizenship Amendment Act should be withdrawn and the process of NPR be stopped forthwith,” the statement said.
Taking a strong stand on the violence against students in the universities, the CWC said, “Modi Government has unleashed the entire might of the brute State power to suppress, subjugate and stifle the voice of the youth and students across the country. Prime Minister and the BJP Government have betrayed the trust of the youth.”
“Instead of listening to the students, the only response of the BJP government has been to unleash police lathi charge, tear gas shells, forcible arrests, lodging of FIRs and even planned attacks on the protesting students and the youth,” it added.
In her opening remarks at the meeting, Sonia Gandhi said the National Population Register (NPR) exercise was a disguised attempt at implementing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to stoke religious tensions in Indian society.
“At first, the government thought that the NRC exercise could be carried out throughout the country. After the disastrous results of the Assam NRC, the government has hit upon the idea of NPR. Let us not be under any illusion that the NPR is a benign exercise. In form and content, NPR 2020 is a disguised NRC,” she said.
Calling the CAA a discriminatory and divisive law, Gandhi said, “The sinister purpose of the law is clear to every patriotic, tolerant and secular Indian: it is to divide the Indian people on religious lines.”
The leaders also deliberated on other issues of national importance at the meet, such as economy, Kashmir shutdown, and implications of US-Iran tensions on India.
Calling the economic situation in the country as alarming, the CWC said, “The government is guilty of monumental mismanagement of the economy. It has inflicted long term damage with the arbitrary decisions of demonetisation and hasty imposition of a flawed GST model, which destroyed the unorganised sector of the economy, rendering millions of workers jobless.”
Ahead of the Union Budget on February 1, CWC called upon the government to reveal its roadmap for reviving the economy, investors’ confidence, and job creation.
On Jammu and Kashmir
The CWC called for an immediate lifting of curbs and restoration of civil liberties in Jammu and Kashmir. The committee also criticised the government for conducting guiding tours of foreign diplomats in the region while denying a visit to Indian leaders. “Former chief ministers and leaders of mainstream parties remain in detention while the government makes hollow claims of normalcy and arranges guided tours of diplomats. It is deplorable since our own Indian leaders of political parties and Members of Parliament are denied the freedom to visit the Valley and meet the people,” the CWC said.
On US-Iran conflict
Expressing deep concerns on the ongoing conflict between the US and Iran, CWC said, “For India, much is at stake – our energy security and the well being of millions strong Indian diaspora working and living in the Gulf. It is imperative that India puts in place well-thought contingency plans to meet any situation and also engage in diplomatic initiatives for de-escalation of tensions.”
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