Rebutting the allegations of the Opposition that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is anti-minority, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the Congress for “creating a fuss” around the law.
He further reiterated that the CAA will not affect any citizen of India including minorities.
Accusing the Congress and other opposition parties of inciting protests, PM Modi said: “I am thankful to the Congress and their ecosystem for creating a fuss around CAA. If they did not oppose it, the country would not have seen through their real face! Now the country has seen who stands for ‘Dal’ and who stands for ‘Desh.”
Further targeting the Congress, the Prime Minister also made references to former PM Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the Emergency among others.
The PM went on to a detailed account of Jawaharlal Nehru’s policies on minorities in Pakistan after the Partition.
“Someone had to become Prime Minister so a line was drawn in India and the country was divided,” he said.
He said Pandit Nehru himself was in “favour of protecting minorities in Pakistan” and questioned the Congress if the former prime minister was “communal”.
“Did he want a Hindu Rashtra?” PM Modi questioned.
Modi said Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, had also used “Pakistan’s minority” word and on November 9, 1950, he had said that who had come to India should be given citizenship and if needed there should be changes in the law.
“In 1950, the Nehru-Liaquat Agreement was signed for the protection of minorities living in India and Pakistan. Religious minorities were mentioned in this agreement. Pandit Nehru was such a big thinker, then why did he not include all the citizens there in the agreement instead of the minorities there? What we are saying today, was the same thing with Nehru ji,” the PM said.
The Prime Minister further accused the Congress of speaking the language of Pakistan.
“They (opposition) have used full power to instil an imaginary fear in the minds of people against CAA. Pakistan also speaks the same language. Pakistan played every game to mislead Indian Muslims. But that country’s attempts have failed…A Muslim is only a Muslim for the Congress, but we see him as an Indian,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that minorities in Pakistan are being harassed since the Partition. However, demonstrations are being instigated in India if “we try to give citizenship rights to those minorities through CAA”.
The Citizenship Amendment Act grants citizenship to six-non Muslim minorities – Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Jain, Christian and Buddhist which migrated to India on or before December 31, 2014, from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Addressing the Lok Sabha while speaking on the Motion of Thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the joint session of Parliament on January 31 — day one of the Budget session — PM Modi also invoked the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The Prime Minister said that it is just “vote bank politics” and asked if Congress has forgotten the 1984 Sikh riots when “our Sikh brothers and sisters were set ablaze”. “Did they not belong to a minority community? Why did they have to wait for over three decades for getting justice? Why did Congress give the chief ministerial post to a person who was involved in Sikh riots? Do they have two different yardsticks for the term minority?”
Hitting out at the Congress, PM Modi said it is the “misfortune” of the country that it has found such an opposition which has drifted to a “wrong path”.