CHENNAI: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday, rejected the Opposition’s claim that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 is against one particular community and termed the resolutions passed by State governments to not implement it as ‘unconstitutional’. She also hinted at the possibility of providing citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamils, as demanded by many political parties in the State.
Addressing an event as part of the BJP’s nationwide ‘Jan Jagran Abhiyan’ campaign in support of the CAA in Chennai, the Finance Minister said it was the responsibility of all the States to ensure implementation of the law passed in Parliament.
This comes at a time when the State governments in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Maharashtra, have voiced their disagreement with CAA, as well as with National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
Reacting to the Opposition’s criticism of CAA being discriminatory against certain minority communities, she claimed that 566 Muslims from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh were given citizenship till 2014, and 391 Afghan Muslims and 1,595 Pakistani migrants were given citizenship between 2016 and 2018.
Musician Adnan Sami and author Taslima Nasreen being granted Indian citizenship proves all the allegations against the government wrong, she said.She also claimed that during the last six years, 2,838 Pakistani, 914 Afghanistani and 172 Bangladeshi refugees were given Indian citizenship. ‘’People from East Pakistan have been living in many camps across the country for about 50-60 years. If you visit these camps, your heart will cry. They have been living there even without any basic amenities,’’ she said.
She said her government was being sympathetic towards the Sri Lankan Tamils in Tamil Nadu as they, too, have been living in such camps. The government has, in fact, provided citizenship to 4.61 lakh Sri Lankan Tamils from 1964 to 2008, she said.
Meanwhile, taking note of protests across the country, she urged the people not to get confused between the NRC that is implemented in Assam and what may be implemented for the rest of the country. ‘’There is no need to fear that NRC implemented in Assam will be carried out across the country. It is being done under the supervision of the Court,’’ continued Sitharaman, saying that the government is yet to describe how the NRC process will be conducted for the rest of the country.