Protest as much as you can, CAA won’t be taken back: Amit Shah at Lucknow rally
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will not be taken back, Union home minister Amit Shah said on Tuesday as he called for a public debate on the legislation that has triggered country-wide protests and forced the BJP to launch an awareness campaign.
Addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh Lucknow, the Union home minister also lashed out at the Congress saying its actions divided the country. On his line of attack were Congress’ Rahul Gandhi as well as West Bengal chief Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav.
“The anti-CAA parties are spreading propaganda and spreading illusions that’s why the BJP is running the Jan Jagran Abhiyan, which is a public awareness campaign against those who break the country,” Amit Shah said.
Watch l ‘Won’t withdraw CAA; challenge opposition leaders for a debate’: Amit Shah
“Let it be very loud and clear to our opponents that the citizenship law won’t be rolled back at any cost, irrespective of the protests,” Shah said of the amended law which will enable the government to give citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The minister reiterated that there is no provision for taking the citizenship of anyone anywhere under CAA and said that people will rather get India’s citizenship.
“I have introduced this bill in the Lok Sabha. I want to tell the opposition that you should discuss this bill publicly. If it can take citizenship of any person, then prove it and show it,” he said.
As several people from the minority communities in the three Muslim-majority countries, who had taken refuge in various parts of the politically-crucial state, attended the rally, Shah accused the opposition of indulging in politics over the issue.
“Aankh ke andhe, kaan ke behre netaon ko in par huey atyachar dikhai nahi padta (The blind and deaf leaders can’t see the atrocities heaped on these persecuted minorities),” Shah said.
The senior minister was severely critical of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav whose daughter was spotted recently at Lucknow’s Clock Tower in the old city area where Muslim women have been on an indefinite protest against the citizenship law.
“Akhilesh ji you keep talking through scripted speeches. I dare you to speak independently for five minutes on the citizenship issue,” he said.
His rally comes even as the protest led by women against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) entered its fifth day.
Police have booked 16 women and more than 100 unidentified persons, including two daughters of poet Munawwar Rana, in connection with the anti-CAA protest at Clock Tower in Chowk area of the capital of Uttar Pradesh.
Ahead of the rally, the police took out a flag mark at Clock Tower, the point where women are protesting but the efforts to pacify the protestors went in vain.
The protest spread to Ujariaon area of Gomti Nagar where over 15 women staged a sit-in near a dargah, holding placards showing anti-CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC) slogans.
Sins of Congress
He lashed out at the Congress as he used data to point to the decreasing number of minorities in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
“At the time of partition, Hindu, Sikh Buddhist and Jain constituted 30% of the population in Bangladesh and 23% in Pakistan. But today it’s just 7% & 3%, respectively. Where have these people gone? Those who are protesting against CAA, I want to ask them this,” he said.
“The sins of the Congress has led to the division of India on the basis of religion. The number of minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh continued to decrease. Where did these people go? Some were killed, some were forcibly converted,” the minister said.
Amit Shah also reminded the Congress of its promise of citizenship to the people from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Rajasthan.
“In the last assembly election in Rajasthan, the Congress had said in its manifesto that Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan will be given citizenship. If you do it then is all right and when Modi ji does it then you protest,” he said.
He went on to invoke Mahatma Gandhi and the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru to say emphasise his government’s thrust for the legislation.
Mahatma Gandhi had said in 1947 that Hindus and Sikhs living in Pakistan can come to India, Shah said. The Father of the Nation had said that giving them citizenship, giving them pride should be the duty of the Indian government, Shah pointed out.
“Nehruji had said that the Central Relief Fund should be used to provide relief to the refugees. They should do whatever is necessary to give them citizenship, but Congress did nothing,” he said.
Shah’s address in Lucknow was his first political rally after relinquishing the post of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief in keeping with one man, one post principle of BJP.
It was among the six rallies by top BJP leaders, the party has planned in UP on citizenship law.
Newly-elected BJP chief JP Nadda will be in Agra on Thursday to drum up support for the recent amendment in the act. Defence minister Rajnath Singh and Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari, both former BJP chiefs, will be also holding rallies in UP.