Not afraid of protests, will never revoke CAA: Amit Shah in Lucknow
Protests against the law are continuing across the country, and it has also been legally challenged in the Supreme Court by several petitioners, including the state of Kerala.Updated: Jan 22, 2020 07:59 IST
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, will not be revoked, Union home minister Amit Shah said at a rally in Lucknow on Tuesday, while challenging opposition leaders to a debate on the legislation he piloted in both houses of Parliament.
The CAA fast-tracks citizenship for non-Muslim refugees from three neighbouring nations who entered India before 2015.
Protests against the law are continuing across the country, and it has also been legally challenged in the Supreme Court by several petitioners, including the state of Kerala. The southern state and Punjab have also moved resolutions against CAA.
Shah also met Hindu and other minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who were attending his rally. That included a group of Sikhs whom Shah greeted with “Jo bole so nihaal, Sat Sri akaal”, the traditional greeting of the community, evoking an enthusiastic response from them.
In the course of his speech, Shah said a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya would be a reality within three months, a reference to the fact that the trust in charge of building the temple will be in place by then. On November 9, the Supreme Court ended a decades-long dispute by ruling in favour of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
Much of the home minister’s speech was devoted to attacking opponents of the CAA. He accused opposition parties of working against the interests of India, singling out Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and the Congress’ Rahul Gandhi. “Interestingly, the language of our opposition leaders is similar to one by [Pakistan Prime Minister] Imran Khan”.
“Now, they are opposing Citizenship Law. Tell me are you behind Modi ji and CAA?” he asked, and when the audience answered overwhelmingly in the affirmative, he urged it to give a missed call on 8866288662. This is the number the BJP has circulated for people to give a missed call to express support for CAA.
The crowd responded, and Shah said, “Now your act has strengthened Modi ji.” The protests against CAA do not worry the government, Shah said.
“We are not afraid of protests. In fact we were born amid protests, raised amid protests. We had said the same thing in opposition and we are now saying same thing while in power,” he added.
UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief ministers, Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, along with UP ministers and BJP functionaries, were also present at the rally.
Reacting to Shah’s speech, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav said in a statement: “Samajwadi Party has an advice for the BJP leadership that they should not become shameless and should listen to the public voice. Those who go against people, get swept away. The Opposition is not going to get intimidated by threats and arrogance.”