JAIPUR: Accusing the Congress of indulging in appeasement politics and creating confusion over the amended Citizenship Act, Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday claimed that the Congress of today was different from the one which had led the freedom movement as it now stands with those who commit violence. The BJP was clearing confusion among people over the new law through its door-to-door campaign, she said.
"The opposition is creating confusion and misleading people over the issue of CAA. Congress president Sonia Gandhi released a video statement but she did not condemn the violence (during protests). Congress is standing with those who committed violence," she told a press conference at the BJP office here. The party's former president Rahul Gandhi had stood by those who raised the slogan 'desh tere tukde honge', the Union minister alleged.
"Congress repeatedly tells the country that it ran the freedom movement. They ask (us) where were you. That Congress which had led the freedom movement cannot stand with 'tukde tukde' gang and cannot support violence. This is a different Congress," Sitharaman said. "They are not habitual of staying away from power. They are in the habit of doing appeasement politics," she alleged.
About the citizenship issue, she said religious minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have faced persecution in their countries and sought asylum in India during the last six decades. "In the last six years, over 2,000 refugees, mostly Muslims, who have come from Pakistan got Indian citizenship. In the same period, more than 900 people, mostly Muslims, from Afghanistan and nearly 200 people, mostly Muslims, from Bangladesh also got citizenship. There is no exclusion. Even today, they can acquire citizenship under the Citizenship Act," Sitharaman said.
She said the Congress in its election manifestos had promised citizenship to religious minorities arriving here from neighbouring countries. But now, when the Narendra Modi government was doing it, they were siding with those involved in violence, the Union minister alleged.
Asserting that the BJP too in its manifesto had promised citizenship to refugees, she said, "We do not do votebank politics while the Congress is still doing the politics of appeasement for Muslim votes and spreading lies. Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed by Parliament after debate. There can be protest in democracy but violence cannot be tolerated." When asked about the Centre's reaction over Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's decision of not implementing CAA in the state, the Union minister said that Gehlot has forgotten that he had written to Centre during his earlier term for giving citizenship to Pakistani refugees.
"He should remember that he had written a letter to the Centre. He should now support the government when it is being done," she said. She also targeted the chief minister over the deaths of children in a Kota hospital saying he should listen to what the deputy chief minister has said.
"The chief minister is focusing on CAA rather than on deaths of children. He is concerned about minority votes," Sitharaman added. Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Saturday criticising his government over the deaths of 107 children in Kota's state-run JK Lon Hospital, saying their response to the infant deaths could have been more sensitive.
Earlier in the day, Sitharaman launched a door-to-door awareness campaign on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at Kagzi Mohalla, Khudabaksh Chowk in Sanganer here and accused the opposition of spreading misinformation about the new law. "The CAA is not for taking away anyone's citizenship. The Opposition has no other issue and therefore they are deliberately creating misconception. They are wrong. Confusion is being created by linking CAA with NRC and we have to clear it," she told a Muslim family.
Accompanied by Jaipur MP Ramcharan Bohra and other leaders, she also visited Laxmi Colony near Kagzi Mohalla for the campaign.