CHENNAI: Superstar Rajinikanth on Wednesday threw his weight behind the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and asserted that the legislation did not pose any threat to Muslims while backing the National Population Register exercise as "very essential."
In his first reaction after the amendment to the Citizenship Act and nation wide protests against it, the top actor also sought to dispel misgivings about the National Register of Citizens saying the government was yet to make up its mind about it.
On the CAA, the 69-year-old actor wondered as to how Muslims, who chose to stay back in India following partition will be sent out of the country. While a chunk of the Muslim population chose Pakistan, others decided to continue to live and die in India since it was their nation of birth, the "janma bhoomi" and they have all their rights in the country, he asserted.
"A scare is created as if the CAA is a threat to Muslims. How it is a threat to Muslims ? CAA is no threat to Muslims, if they face trouble (due to the law), I will be the first person to raise voice for them," he told reporters here.
Notably, the actor, who is expected to foray into politics has taken a stand contrary to that of his friend and Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan, who has staunchly opposed the CAA. MNM is among the parties who have filed petitions against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the apex court.
Rajinikanth, who is likely to float his party ahead of the Assembly elections next year also pointed out that the central government has assured that Indian people will have no problem in view of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
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The government has said that no citizen will lose their citizenship and the law was only about bestowing citizenship to those from our neighbouring countries, he pointed out. Asked on the CAA not granting citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamils in India, he said the Tamil refugees who have been here for about three decades must be given dual citizenship.
"Tamil refugees who are here must be definitely given dual citizenship," he said echoing the stand of the ruling AIADMK government. The DMK, main opposition in Tamil Nadu, has been citing non-inclusion of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees as one of the reason for its opposition to the CAA.
Alleging that some political parties were instigating people against CAA for their selfish interests, he also blamed religious leaders for supporting protests against the law and dubbed it "very wrong." Cautioning students against taking part in protests, he urged them to think, and solicit advise from their professors and elders before participating since political parties may try to "use them."
In the event of police filing FIRs against students (if they took part in protests and in case of any unlawful happenings in that connection), their future may be affected which needed to be borne in mind, he said.
Backing the National Population Register exercise, he said the drive is "very, very essential," and added that it was very important and the Congress-led government had also done it in the past.
Asserting that the NPR process should be taken up, he asked whether it should not be ascertained who the residents of India were and who were not. On National Register of Citizens, he said, "It is not implemented yet and they (the Centre) are thinking about it; its contours will be known when they come up with a draft (framework) for it."