Opposition misguiding refugees, minorities over CAA: Shah
Addressing a public rally in Kolkata, he also launched the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s campaign for the West Bengal assembly election next year, exuding confidence that his party will win with a two-thirds majority.Updated: Mar 02, 2020 06:58 IST
Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday accused opposition parties, including West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress, of spreading misinformation on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, while also assuring Muslims that the legislation does not pose any threat to them.
Addressing a public rally in Kolkata, he also launched the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s campaign for the West Bengal assembly election next year, exuding confidence that his party will win with a two-thirds majority.
Earlier in the day, Shah inaugurated the 29 Special Composite Group complex of the National Security Guard (NSG) in Rajarhat, on the outskirts of Kolkata, where he spoke of national security and India’s defence policy.
“We have zero tolerance towards terrorism. India had no proactive defence policy before. Now, after [Narendra] Modiji became the Prime Minister, we have developed a proactive defence policy segregated from the foreign policy,” he said at the event.
“People who want to divide the nation, harm the country and disrupt its peace should fear the presence of NSG. If they still come, it is NSG’s responsibility to fight and defeat them,” he said.
Shah also said that India has now joined the league of countries like the United States and Israel that can carry out surgical strikes.
At the Shahid Minar rally in the heart of the city, Shah launched a scathing attack on chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her party, giving a call to oust the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
“We are launching a campaign called Aar Noy Annay (No More Injustices) to defeat the dictatorial government ... It’s a difficult battle. But we have to fight it out,” Shah said.
The BJP bagged 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in last year’s Lok Sabha election.
“Mamata Banerjee is obstructing PM Modi from developing Bengal. Give Modiji five years and we will change it. We will turn Bengal into Sonar Bangla (Golden Bengal),” Shah said, launching a phone number (9727294294) that will be used to drum up support in the campaign against the Trinamool.
On the issue of citizenship, which has triggered nationwide protests, Shah sought to reach out to Muslims while he hit out at the Opposition.
“They are trying to create panic among the minority, saying that our Muslim brothers and sisters will lose citizenship. From this rally in Kolkata, I assure all minorities in Bengal that CAA will not take away your citizenship. This law is for granting citizenship, not for taking it away,” he reiterated.
Muslims comprise 27.01% of Bengal’s total population of 90.3 million, according to the report of the Census 2011.
Shah alleged that refugees, too, were being fed misinformation that they will have to produce papers and that their right to live in the country will be taken away. “They are being told to go to police stations and government record-keepers. I am telling you to go nowhere. We will not stop until and unless all the refugees are granted citizenship and Mamata Banerjee cannot stop us from doing that,” Shah said.
“Crores of Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Jain and Parsi brothers who had to come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after being cheated, persecuted do not have citizenship. Tell me, do you not want them to get citizenship?” he asked.
CAA, passed in December in Parliament’s winter session, fast-tracks the citizenship process for refuges of Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Jain and Buddhist faiths who entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh before December 31, 2015. Opponents of CAA say the act is unconstitutional because it links faith to citizenship in a secular country and discriminatory because it leaves out Muslims.
Shah also reiterated the party’s stand against infiltration. “Are you with BJP on the question of infiltrators? Then, join me in saying ‘no more infiltrators’,” he said.
Responding to Shah, state urban development minister and Kolkata mayor, Firhad Hakim, said Mamata Banerjee will never allow CAA, National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register to be implemented in Bengal.