Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday said the government will not backtrack on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), adding that protests against the new law were due to a misinformation campaign by the Congress.
Speaking in Jodhpur at the launch of the BJP’s awareness campaign on the CAA, Shah said, “Across the nation, the BJP has organised an awareness campaign on the CAA and I have come here as part of that campaign. What was the need to organise (this campaign)? Why is it (the law) being opposed? Because those who have grown accustomed to indulging in vote bank politics, that Congress has launched a misinformation campaign against CAA. And in that misinformation campaign, the country’s youths were misled and there were protests against this law.”
“Today Congress, Mamata didi (Banerjee), SP, BSP, (Arvind) Kejriwal and company, communists, all of these are opposing (CAA). And I have come to challenge all these parties — you say that minorities will lose their citizenship due to this. Rahul baba (Gandhi), come for a discussion anywhere if you have read the law. And if you haven’t, then I can get it translated into Italian and get it sent to you,” Shah said.
“Let all these parties come together, the BJP government will not backtrack even an inch on CAA. No one can stop your citizenship.we will work hard and go to the youth and minority and tell them that this has nothing to do with your citizenship. My refugee brothers have come and they’ve to be given citizenship,” Shah said.
The BJP president said the CAA has no provisions for taking away someone’s citizenship. “It only has the provision to give citizenship… This law is for granting citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikh, Buddhists, Jain, Parsi and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have come here.”
Shah said that after Partition, over 30 per cent of the population of Pakistan — both East and West — was that of minorities. “These minorities expected to live safely but their numbers in Pakistan have declined from 30 per cent to 3 per cent in Pakistan and from 30 per cent to 7 per cent in Bangladesh.”
Referring to the pact between then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his Pakistani counterpart Liaquat Ali Khan, Shah said, “Minorities of both nations were given an assurance. And here (in India) we kept our brothers and sisters from the minority communities with respect and their population is booming.”
He added, “Mahatma Gandhi had promised (citizenship to refugees), was he communal? And in Parliament, Jawaharlal Nehru had said that we will give citizenship to Hindu and Sikh (refugees). Was he also communal? I am telling the refugees sitting here that your acche din (good days) are here and you are going to become a citizen of this nation.”
Shah said that the refugees “have the same right over India as much as me.”
The BJP president also launched a toll-free number where one can call to express their support for CAA.