Oppn pushing country into 'spiral of violence': Chouhan

Last Updated 25 December 2019, 14:18 IST

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday alleged that the Congress and other opposition parties are trying to create confusion among people on CAA, NPR and NRC and to push the country into a "spiral of violence".

Attacking Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he asked why she did not say a word in Parliament during the debate on the Citizenship Amendment Bill but staged a protest after it became a law.

Chouhan was speaking at a news conference here. BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher and city party chief Sanjay Tandon were also present.

"They are misleading people. An attempt is being made to push the country into a spiral of violence," Chouhan said, hitting out at the Congress and the Trinamool Congress.

Immediately after the country got independence, Mahatma Gandhi had said that Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities who did not want to live in Pakistan can come to India and it will be the government's duty to ensure their safety and provide employment to them, he said.

For decades, Hindus and other minorities, including Sikhs in Pakistan, have faced persecution on religious grounds and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is for people like them, he added.

At the time of independence, minorities constituted nearly 23 per cent of Pakistan's population. It fell to 3 per cent in 2011 and now is around 2 per cent, the BJP vice-president claimed.

"If those minorities facing religious persecution are given citizenship and our Parliament passed a law, I want to ask Sonia ji, why they (Congress) opposed it.

"I'm not talking about Rahul Gandhi because he stays abroad more than he does in India. But why does Sonia ji not feel the pain and suffering of such people. Sonia Gandhi was present in Parliament during the debate, but she did not speak a word on the amended Citizenship Bill," Chouhan said.

"But they staged a protest at Rajghat," he added.

Chouhan also questioned the Congress president's silence on incidents of violence during the protests against the CAA.

"She (Sonia Gandhi) will also have to tell this country why she did not condemn the incidents of violence and damage to property. Does she want that the country to burn like this," he asked.

According to the CAA, non-Muslim refugees who came to India till December 31, 2014, to escape religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will be given Indian citizenship.

Protests against the law, which critics allege discriminates on the basis of religion, have rapidly spread across the country over the past two weeks, with protesters fighting pitched battles with police in major cities, including the national capital Delhi.

Chouhan also targeted Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who led an anti-CAA march in Bhopal earlier in the day.

"A person holding a constitutional post and opposing a law passed by Indian Parliament is openly saying he will not accept it. Does he have the right to continue as chief minister," he asked.

"Be it (Rajasthan CM) Ashok Gehlot or (West Bengal CM) Mamata Banerjee or Kamal Nath, they should first leave the chief minister's post, then take out such marches," he said.

"The CAA has been passed to grant citizenship and not to snatch anyone's citizenship… Muslims living in India are our own, the country is their's too, this law is not against them," he added.

On the National Population Register (NPR), Chouhan said it was conceived in 2010 during former prime minister Manmohan Singh's tenure.

"The real thing is that they (opposition) cannot take on (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi, so they are adopting tactics to create confusion, mislead, incite and spread misinformation among public and create a state of fear," he said.

The Union cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the proposal on Tuesday for updating the NPR at a cost of Rs 3,941.35 crore.

The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.

Replying to a question, Chouhan also criticised the opposition parties for linking the NPR with the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

"It is unfortunate that an attempt is being made to spread this misinformation. They have been blinded by their opposition to the BJP. Tomorrow, you will link Aadhaar card to NRC," he said.

(Published 25 December 2019, 14:18 IST)

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