Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused the Congress of “spreading lies” about the citizenship act and “creating an atmosphere of fear for Muslims” in the country as he threw a challenge to the opposition party and its allies.The Prime Minister, while speaking during an election rally in Jharkhand, sought to address concerns over the Citizenship Amendment Act and said it doesn’t snatch away any right of the Indian citizen or causes any harm.
“I give my assurances no citizen in the country will be affected by the law. The Congress and its allies are instigating Muslims for political purpose,” he said.
“I challenge Congress and their allies if they have the guts they should openly declare that they will give Indian citizenship to every Pakistani citizen and that they will bring back Article 370 in Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said.
Modi also reached out to students, who have been protesting across the country against the citizenship law, with a piece of advice.
“Stop this guerrilla politics. The Indian Constitution is our only holy book. I appeal to the youth in colleges to debate our policies and protest democratically. We will listen to you. But some parties, urban Naxals, are firing off your shoulders,” he said.Protests against the citizenship law, which gives citizenship to migrants of six non-Muslim minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, had turned violent on Sunday in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia as police baton-charged several students.
The police have been accused of and condemned for barging inside the Jamia university campus after the protest march.Several students have been injured in the police crackdown as Jamia’s chief proctor Waseem Ahmed Khan said the personnel entered the university by force and thrashed staff members and students. Students also said that police barged into the library beat up pupils, dragging them out.
Parliament had passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, last week and it became an act after receiving assent from President Ram Nath Kovind.
Since then, violence has been reported in various parts of the country over the citizenship law and after Sunday’s police action against Jamia students, several university campuses have erupted in protests to express solidarity.
The act 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.
The Congress party, on its part, has said it is fighting to protect the Constitution, which is being “violated and threatened” by the BJP with its “divisive” politics.
Senior Congress leaders, including party president Sonia, lawmaker Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, have been unsparing in their attack on the government over the citizenship law.
Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Monday that citizenship act and National Register of Citizens (NRC) are “weapons of mass polarisation unleashed by fascists on India and also indicated that the party will be at the forefront of protests.
“The Modi government’s intent is clear – destabilise the entire society, incite violence, snatch the rights of the young, create an atmosphere of communal disharmony and use all of these for parochial political gains. The architects of this conspiracy are none less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah,” Sonia Gandhi has said.
To show solidarity with students, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other senior leaders on Monday held a protest in front of India Gate against the “police brutality” on students of Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University.
Several other parties including the Trinamool Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Left parties, Telangana Rashtriya Samithi, Aam Aadmi Party and Janata Dal (Secular) are also opposing the citizenship act.
As the Prime Minister addressed the poll rally, he also said that people of Jharkhand have voted fearlessly in the first four phases of the ongoing assembly elections.
Modi said that there is only one voice in the state and it is that “Jharkhand Pukara, BJP Dubara” or Jharkhand has given a call for the Bharatiya Janata Party for the second time.
“This voice has strengthened because the lotus has ensured development in the state. When the ‘lotus’ blooms, the youth, women, old, tribals and the backward areas benefit,” he said.
“Your blessings on the BJP are giving sleepless nights to the Congress, JMM, RJD and the Left parties.”
Elections to the Jharkhand assembly are being held in the state in five phases. The first phase was held on November 30 and the fifth and final phase of polling will take place on December 20. The votes will be counted three days later on December 23.