GORAKHPUR/MORADABAD: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met Muslim community members in Gorakhpur on Sunday to dispel doubts about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and said the move was in line with India's tradition of giving shelter to persecuted people.
Adityanath's deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya, who took part in a similar drive in Moradabad, hit out at the opposition parties, saying they were trying to misguide the public against the citizenship law to create unrest in the state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday launched a 10-day nationwide campaign in support of the law.
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In his home turf Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Adityanath walked down to the shop Haji Chaudhari Kaif-ul-Wara and handed him a booklet on the law which he said was meant to give citizenship to persecuted people.
"This is a booklet about CAA, read it and all doubts will be cleared. I thought of beginning the awareness campaign from here," he told Kaif-ul-Wara.
Kaifulwara promised to create awareness about CAA and requested the chief minister to release people with no criminal background who were holding protests against the CAA and the proposed countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Gorakhpur on December 20, saying children make mistakes.
On his way to Kaif-ul-Wara's shop from the Gorakhnath temple, of which he is the head priest, Adityanath met many Muslim community members.
He explained to them that it was a law to give citizenship.
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"Those who did not have citizenship and are living in India, this law gives them citizenship," he said.
"It is the tradition of India to give shelter to persecuted people and Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought CAA to give citizenship to such people," Adityanath said.
He said it was not meant to take away anyone's citizenship, but the Congress, Samajwadi Party and its allies are "unfortunately" trying to mislead people by spreading confusion and violence.
"This people's awareness programme is aimed at clearing confusion and doubts spread against CAA," the chief minister said.
The CAA seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis who had arrived in India by December 31, 2014 from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh due to religious persecution.
Opposition parties have called the law against India's Constitution for making religion a ground for citizenship.
In Moradabad, Maurya told reporters that the citizenship of Muslims is fully secure in India and the CAA will help persecuted religious minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
He said the opposition parties who didn't want to see Modi as prime minister are now backing the Popular Front of India which he termed as the new avatar of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).