Union Home Affairs Amit Shah on Tuesday accused the Opposition of spreading misinformation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and assured that minority community citizens will not suffer any harm from the new legislation.
He also said that BJP-led government believes in the freedom of religion as enshrined in the Constitution and “we do not see India as a Hindu Rashtra”. He said of more than 300 universities, only 22 have seen protests, four of which are serious.
Shah said the proposed National Register for Citizens (NRC) is not against and Rule 4 of Citizenship Act, which is the basis of NRC, was enacted in the time of UPA.
The Home Minister said the government has learnt from NRC exercise in Assam and will be closing all the loopholes the next time it is done.
He said special provisions will be made for minorities but “illegal immigrants” will not be allowed to stay in the country.
The Home Minister said that the BJP-led government believes in the freedom of religion as enshrined in the Constitution.
“Nehru himself said India should accept persecuted religious minorities from Pakistan. Thus, even when we are just implementing the laws created by Congress, we are accused of being communal. This is misinformation. We are ready for a thorough examination of any decision of ours. We are confident it will uphold the Indian constitution in letter and spirit,” Shah told Aaj Tak in an interview.
“We do not see India as a Hindu Rashtra. We believe in the freedom of religion as enshrined in the Constitution. Any Government of the country can have only one religion: India’s Constitution,” the minister added.
Shah appealed the students protesting against the CAA and said that they can bring forth their issues to the government.
“Out of more than 300 universities, only 22 have seen protests, 4 of which are serious. So it is not right to say that a lot of universities have seen protests. Students haven’t read CAA properly. I appeal to them to do so. If they have issues, they can bring forth to the Government. As people understand the act better, the protests will gradually die down,” he said.
Commenting on the incidents of violence, Shah said: “There was stone pelting from campuses of some universities. The police was therefore forced to intervene, especially as protests turned to violence. Have told the Delhi Police to establish peace in Delhi on priority basis. As home minister, peace is my priority.”
The Home Minister said that the National Register for Citizens (NRC) is not against Muslims.
“NRC is not against Muslims. Anyone who is found to not be able to prove citizenship will be deported. Rule 4 of Citizenship Act, which is the basis of NRC, was enacted in the time of UPA,” he said.
“We have learnt from the NRC exercise in Assam and will be closing all the loopholes the next time we do it. Our leader has courage. We are ready to face any challenge. We are not here to do politics but to make India better… We will make special provisions for minorities. However, we will not allow illegal immigrants to stay here. They are a danger for Indian of every religion,” he said.
The minister said Opposition parties have got together to spread misinformation against CAA.
“I assure all minority citizens that they will not suffer any harm whatsoever from the CAA. The Act enables the provision of citizenship, does not take it away from anyone,” Shah said.
He said the percentage of Hindus has dropped from 30 per cent to three per cent in Pakistan between 1950 and now.
“Forcible conversions and kidnappings forced many Hindus to flee to India. CAA will provide dignity and religious freedom to those persecuted minorities,” he said.
Protests have erupted after Citizenship Amendment Bill became the Act, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
Shah, who is also the national president of BJP said that his party never had an agreement with its former ally Shiv Sena on the chief ministerial post.
“In Maharashtra, the problem started when Shiv Sena got greedy about CM seat. We never agreed on sharing of CM seat with them. We always fought the election on the plank of Devendra Fadnavis as CM,” he said.