Come what may, CAA will stay: Amit Shah in Lucknow
The protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have been raging across India for the last couple of weeks, but Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which passed the law is in no mood to repeal it. Announcing the same at a pro-CAA rally, Home Minister Amit Shah claimed protesters can keep on doing what they want, but the government's stand will not change.
For the first time ever, a law makes religion a criterion for granting Indian citizenship, and this has ruffled many feathers. CAA will favor non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan while granting Indian citizenship, and its critics argued that it goes against the nation's secular fabric. Since December, students, women, activists, and civil society members have been demanding to revert the law.
Sending a clear message to protesters, Shah said in Lucknow today, "I want to say it again that the government is not going back on the CAA. Those who want to protest may continue doing so." Notably, the Uttar Pradesh capital is one of the places where protests were highly-defined and even turned violent as some vehicles were torched and public property vandalized.
Launching a sharp attack on the opposition, Shah dared politicians to have a debate on CAA. "Mamata didi, Akhilesh ji, Mayawati ji, I dare you to a debate on the Citizenship Act anywhere in the country... I dare you to show me any clause in the Bill that talks about taking away any one's citizenship," he said, accusing the opposition of spreading misinformation.
"For 10 years the UPA government was there, and from Pakistan, Aalia, Malia, Jamalia used to come here and carry out terror attacks. Manmohan Singh or mauni baba did not say a word against it," Shah, who steered the Bill's passage in the Parliament, said.
From CAA, Shah moved towards JNU violence that happened on January 5, asserting that those who talk about splitting India into pieces will be sent to jail. "Anti-national slogans were chanted in JNU. If you chant slogans against Bharat Mata, I will put you behind bars," Shah added. Both BJP and Left have leveled tit for tat allegations on one another for violence.
The premier varsity saw unprecedented scenes earlier this month after masked goons entered the campus, thrashed students, and vandalized the campus. Days after the incident, Delhi Police identified nine miscreants — seven belonging to Left-affiliated groups and others from ABVP. The accused included JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh who was injured too. Though no arrests have happened so far, cops have questioned the accused.