NEW DELHI: While the firestorm of protest against the amended Citizenship Act continued to rage on across the national capital, a group of Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan gathered at Rajghat on Thursday to voice their support for the legislation.
The rally, in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), was organised by Hindu Refugees’ Rights Forum.
The refugees at the venue took up residence in the city several decades ago. Parvati, a Pakistani Hindu refugee who lives in a settlement near Majnu Ka Tilla, said the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) has raised the hopes of many like her in their quest for permanent refuge in the country and a dignified living.
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“Finally, there’s hope of us leading better lives. Pakistan was never a land for Hindus, but India is. We may have been born and raised there, but we were never accorded the dignity and respect that are reserved for citizens. We can now settle in India with dignity. We will be able to shed the tag of refugees,” Parvati said.
BJP’s Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijender Gupta, who was also present at the gathering, said the CAA will not only ensure dignity and livelihood for the refugees but also proper education for their children.
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The refugee women will also be a lot safer, he said.
Targeting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Gupta said he was deliberately spreading falsehoods among Muslims on the law with an aim to score political brownie points. “He (CM) should have tried to get a better understanding of the legislation. He and his party are spreading canards over the legislation,” Gupta said.
While the city’s refugees have welcomed the passage of the Act in both House of Parliament, students and opposition parties have been out on the streets protesting against the contentious law. While the government has assured that no India citizen has anything to fear from the law, the opposition has railed against it, calling it discriminatory and a ploy by the BJP to push its divisive agenda.