Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was not on the agenda of the government yet. However, asked if it had been put in cold storage, he said he had never said that and added that the CAA should be discussed now. He also targeted the Opposition for spreading misinformation about Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
“Pradhanmantri ne ye kaha hai ki abhi NRC nahi aa raha hai. Aur main bhi keh raha hun ki abhi NRC ki charcha nahi hai (The PM has only said that NRC is not coming as yet. I am also saying that there is no talk of NRC now),” Shah said during an interview to ABP News.
He had been asked a question on his repeated reference to the NRC and then Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that there was no talk on NRC.
Asked if this meant the NRC had been relegated to cold storage, Shah said, “Maine kahan aisa kaha hai (Where have I said that?). I am saying right now CAA has been brought, so discuss that.”
The Home Minister said looking at CAA and NRC as connected is a way to mislead people. “The two things are different. There is no provision in the CAA that talks about NRC. Don’t go by what statements are being made in public, look at the Bill brought in Parliament. A white lie is being told. I want to tell Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi that you tell every day that the poor will lose citizenship. I want to ask them, tell me one provision (in the Act) that will do this.”
Shah said the government had launched a public awareness programme. “Misinformation has short life. We will go door to door and tell people that this is a lie….” Shah said.
In reply to a question on the protests, he said, “The protests happened because it was presented to the people of the country in a political way by the Opposition. People were misled. We did not anticipate this from the Opposition. …All of this is a political protest with participation of misinformed people….”
Asked why all protests happened in BJP-ruled states, Shah said, “You ask Congress why there were no riots in their states…We all know who is perpetrating the riots….”
On National Population Register, Shah said, “Census happens every year. So shouldn’t it be done now? Congress has also done earlier…P Chidambaram brought NPR. Every time new questions are added. No community is being targeted. No document would be sought…Only data will be collected. NRC and NPR have no connection.”
On police action during the protests against CAA and NRC, Shah said, “…When people come for protests and mob turns violent, police has to take action. By criticising law and order steps, we are not doing good to the country.”
Shah played down setbacks suffered by the BJP in recent elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand saying that in two of these states, the mandate was not against them. “Yes, the results in Jharkhand are a matter of concern and we will analyse the real reasons for our defeat. As the party president, I take full responsibility,” he said.
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