Mahatma Gandhi was in favour of giving shelter to refugees coming from Pakistan, Union minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday, justifying the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
The BJP leader held a press conference at Margaon in Goa to defend the controversial law which has sparked off protests across the country.
"This (the Act) is not about political ideology but about humanity.
"The same thing was stated by Mahatma Gandhi when he wrote to (Jawaharlal) Nehru and said that refugees (from Pakistan) should be given shelter in India," he said.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh had also demanded in th past that minorities (from neighbouring countries) be given citizenship in India, Goyal said.
"It is unfortunate that some political parties are giving a religious colour to the Act," he said.
The CAA does not take away the citizenship of any religious group, but provides citizenship to "religious minorities from the countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who are persecuted", he said.
A lot of propaganda is being spread against the CAA and "our children are being misled", he alleged.
"Nobody's citizenship would be affected," the Union minister added.
"We believe it was a duty of India and every Indian to protect those who were being persecuted on religious grounds. Many Christians are also persecuted in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan," Goyal said.