NEW DELHI: Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday targeted Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri for linking the matter of Sikhs and Hindus fleeing the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan with the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), questioning whether he was "misleading" on the issue.
Puri, a senior BJP leader, on Sunday outlined the need for the CAA in view of Sikhs and Hindus fleeing Afghanistan taken over by the Taliban on August 15.
"Recent developments in our volatile neighbourhood & the way Sikhs & Hindus are going through a harrowing time are precisely why it was necessary to enact the Citizenship Amendment Act," he tweeted.
Owaisi, the president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), in a series of tweets questioned Puri's assertion.
"CAA only applies to UNDOCUMENTED immigrants. It also does not apply beyond 2014. How does it help people who are now coming in to India WITH proper visas. Did you not read the law your govt enacted with such bravado? Or are you deliberately misleading?" Owaisi tweeted.
He claimed that the Afghanistan refugees would have been benefitted from a religion-neutral law that he demanded but the government did not accept.
"I'd demanded a religion-neutral law that would have actually helped these refugees, but that was too much for religion-obsessed sarkar.
Such a law would have not only helped these minorities, but also those Afghans who were working with us in our 4 consulates & embassy," he said in another tweet.
Further, the Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad also accused the government of lacking "foresight", saying "exclusion" of "persecuted" Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks of Afghanistan was also a "strategic blunder" that he had warned earlier.
The government of India has undertaken an evacuation exercise to airlift Hindus, Sikhs and natives from the neighbouring country.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which came into force from January 10, 2020, witnessed widespread protests across the country with Delhi emerging as a hub of resistance against the legislation.
Most of the Opposition parties vociferously protested against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, introduced in Parliament by the Modi government, alleging it was "communal" in nature.
The CAA grants citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on the ground of religious persecution faced by them in their native country.
India on August 17 announced that it will issue an emergency e-visa to Afghan nationals who want to come to the country in view of the prevailing situation in Afghanistan.
All Afghans, irrespective of their religion, can apply for the 'e-Emergency X-Misc Visa' online and the applications will be processed in New Delhi.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs reviews visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan. A new category of electronic visa called 'e-Emergency X-Misc Visa' introduced to fast-track visa applications for entry into India," a home ministry spokesperson had said.
The visa would initially be valid for six months, officials had said.