BJP creating division in society for politics: Cong

Last Updated 22 December 2019, 12:34 IST

Terming the amended citizenship law "discriminatory" and against the spirit of the Constitution, Congress leader Rajeev Shukla accused the BJP on Sunday of creating divisions in the society for political gains.

He also claimed that there was "fear and apprehensions" surrounding the proposed nationwide implementation the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

There have been spontaneous protests in universities, IITs, IIMs and other leading academic institutions throughout the country against the "divisive agenda and anti-people policies of the BJP government", Shukla told a press conference.

Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi put up a strong defence of the contentious law at a rally in Delhi on Sunday and accused the Congress, its allies and "urban naxals" of spreading the rumour that Muslims will be sent to detention centres.

Modi said lies were being spread about the NRC and asserted that the previous Congress governments had mooted it. His government has not discussed it so far either in Parliament or in Cabinet, he added.

Hitting out at the BJP, Shukla said, "Intellectuals, students from IITs, IIMs, professors of top universities and institutions are coming out to register their protest. Can anyone mislead them? They are all educated people. If they are saying something, that means there is something wrong, but the government is not prepared to listen."

He said there was no need for the amendment in the Citizenship Act as the Centre already had the power to grant citizenship.

The new law allows citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis who entered India before 2015 after facing religious persecution in three neighbouring countries. The list excludes Muslims.

"The BJP wants to create divisions in the society for its own political gains," the Congress leader said, as he termed the amendments in the law "discriminatory" and against the spirit of the Constitution.

Claiming that the proposed nationwide NRC would particularly hurt the poor and vulnerable sections of the society, Shukla said, "There is fear and apprehension among people about NRC. Enforcement of NRC means people will have to dig out birth, school and other certificates of their forefathers to prove citizenship."

Some of the BJP's own allies too have expressed concerns about NRC, he asserted.

"If NRC is about identifying those who entered the country or settled here illegally, already there are laws to deal with that. Anybody who enters or has entered the country illegally can be sent back, who stops the government from doing so? But what they are doing through this exercise is creating divisions in society for polarisation of votes," Shukla claimed.

Asked about the violent protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed NRC, Shukla said, "All should follow the path of non-violence in protests as shown by Mahatma Gandhi".

He also hit out at the Centre over the economic situation of the country, saying, "The economy is in a bad shape, farmers' plight is known to all, unemployment is at its peak, prices of essential commodities are soaring, onion prices have shot through the roof, but the government is silent on this."

(Published 22 December 2019, 12:12 IST)

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