In a vitriolic speech on Sunday, MP Tejasvi Surya lambasted opposition parties and opponents of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by declaring that they had little role to play in the “new India” being forged by the BJP.
“This is a new India that we are creating. This is India which will have a $5 trillion economy. Your namby-pamby secularism, that you people have built so far will not work anymore,” the Member of Parliament for South Bengaluru said after making a surprise appearance at the staging of a pro-CAA rally at Town Hall on Sunday afternoon.
Surya’s comments appeared to strike a contrast to the more conciliatory tone of rally attendees who, since morning, had held placards stating that CAA inherently complimented India’s secular values. However, the political atmosphere of the rally appeared to become charged after Surya’s appearance.
During his address to a packed crowd of about 800 people, Surya gave voice to the concerns of supporters of the Act. Among these is the notion that acts of violence aimed at the legislation are products of half-understanding by misinformed critics.
Speaking to DH, Tanmoy Das (41) and Guru (40), both techies who attended the rally separately, said that unfounded fears are unfairly linking CAA with the National Registry of Citizens (NRC), and feeding nationwide protests.
“People, of course, have a right to exercise their right to protest, but in this case, there is no need to be fearful because the CAA’s only intention is to help minority Hindu groups in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan migrate to India,” Guru said.
“The issue is not that simple,” Das added. “For example, there is so much apprehension over NRC, but India, like every country, has a right to register its citizens. I don’t think that the implementation of the NRC will cause some people to be thrown out of the country. Is the government that foolish?”
However, this is precisely what critics fear will happen.
During protests at Town Hall on Thursday, Mohammed Zikria (42), a professional who said that his family was residents of Bengaluru from seven generations, lambasted the CAA and NRC as implements of the Modi administration to undermine minority groups.
“CAA is harmful if it is joined with the NRC. You can see the government’s plan that is taking shape. It is absurd. What do they want us to do? First, it turns us into refugees and then asks us to apply for citizenship. If we are lucky, we are then re-granted our citizenship. I mean, we were born in this country and have citizenship. Why should we have to prove it?” he asked.
Surya, however, denied that there were plans to link CAA with the National Registry of Citizens.