NEW DELHI: Speaking for the first time after violent protests over the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act spread outside the Northeast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday tried to allay fears over the new law when he said it did not apply to any citizen, “Hindu or Muslim”, and that there had been no discussion in the government over the National Register of Citizens.
“Jo Hindustan ke mitti ke Musalman hain, un par nagrikta kanoon aur NRC, dono ka koi lena dena nahin hain (For Muslims born on Indian soil, neither the new citizenship law nor the NRC will apply),” Modi said as he used a pre-Delhi Assembly election rally here to directly address anti-CAA protesters.
Attacking the “Congress and urban Naxals” for spreading rumours and stoking fear over the NRC, Modi said it has “not come up in Parliament, nor in the Cabinet, nor have any rules been framed, yet misinformation is being spread on it.”
“Has anything happened on NRC? Only lies are being spread. Ever since my government came to power, from 2014 till this date, there has been no discussion on NRC,” Modi said as he tried to play down fears that a nationwide population enumeration is on the cards now that the controversial CAA has been passed.
His statement comes less than a fortnight after Home Minister Amit Shah told Parliament: “Rest assured, NRC will be brought in soon.”
Modi sought to dispel fears of creating detention centres for Muslims, saying it is a white lie. “The Congress along with its associates and urban Naxals are fuelling rumours. Even the educated urban population is falling to misinformation and asking about detention centres. It is being said that Muslims will be sent to detention centres. This is just a rumour to create a divide and an attempt to destroy the country.” Modi emphasised while addressing a massive rally at Ramlila Maidan.
The meeting was organised by the BJP’s local unit to express gratitude to Modi for approving a proposal for allowing property ownership rights in 1,731 unauthorised colonies.
After days of violence, anti-CAA protests in parts of the country on Sunday were incident-free.
Protracted protests have claimed about two-dozen lives in the last one week, with Uttar Pradesh taking the maximum hit. Modi, who spoke for about 100 minutes, devoted a considerable part of his speech to address concerns of Muslims.
Launching a blistering attack on the Congress, the Trinamool and the Left for provoking people, he said India lost an opportunity to expose Pakistan over its discrimination against their minorities due to the Opposition’s vote bank politics.
He pointed out that Congress leaders like former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had been in favour of giving citizenship rights to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries.
Denouncing the attacks on the police during the protests, the PM sought to emphasise that the personnel in khaki had always come to people’s help when in need, adding more than 33,000 policemen had laid down their lives in the line of duty since Independence.
Officers of the rank of additional district magistrate have been assigned different parts of the state capital to identify the vandals.
The Gorakhpur police, meanwhile, released photographs of over 50 persons involved in the protests against CAA from video footages and moved to detain them.
Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath had earlier directed the chief secretary and the director general of police to identify the culprits responsible for public damages and attach their property to recover the losses.
He had said the properties of people associated with violence would be seized and auctioned to compensate for the destruction of public assets.
The action is based on a Supreme Court order that rioters would be strictly made liable for the damage and compensation would be collected from them.
Meanwhile, a four-member team of the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool was detained at Lucknow airport. The delegation led by former MP Dinesh Trivedi and MP’s Protima Mandal, was planning to meet families of those killed in UP.
ALSO READ | An act divided!: Citizenship (Amendment) Act
No new refugee will benefit
Who can understand the pain of refugees better than the people of Delhi? The CAA is not taking away citizenship. On the contrary, it confers citizenship to the persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
The act will only apply to the people who have been living in India for several years. No new refugee will benefit from the CAA.
Muslims in India need not worry at all. Allegations that the CAA and the NRC will apply to the Muslims of the country are a white lie.
Mamata Banerjee had flagged infiltration at the UN and raised it in Parliament. She wanted help for refugees coming from Bangladesh. What made her change her mind now, Modi wondered.
- Gandhiji had said Sikhs and Hindus living in Pak will always be welcome to India. We (BJP) are fulfilling the decades-old promise. Why are they protesting against it?
- People creating a scare in the name of documents should remember, we never insisted on documentation to grant benefits of any of our schemes.