Shah says Centre firm on CAA implementation; slams Oppn

Last Updated : 17 December 2019, 22:08 IST

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Amid protests over the amended Citizenship Act, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday asserted there was no question of going back on its implementation and accused the opposition of engaging in a "false" campaign over the legislation.

Shah accused the opposition of running a "false" campaign and creating a rift between Hindus and Muslims over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

He dared Congress president Sonia Gandhi and leaders of other opposition parties to issue a statement saying they want all the Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh be given Indian citizenship.

Speaking at a poll rally in Jharkhand on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw a similar challenge at the "Congress and its friends".

Shah said there was nothing against minorities in the CAA, which was passed by Parliament last week and has received Presidential assent, and added it does not snatch away citizenship of anyone.

Seeking to turn the tables on the Congress for questioning the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), Shah said the provision was ushered in by the national party as a consequence of the Assam Accord signed by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985.

He said the Congress had laid the foundation of the CAA, too.

Shah's remark come on a day when opposition leaders knocked on the doors of President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking his intervention in repealing the "unconstitutional and divisive" citizenship amendment law and forming a commission of inquiry to probe violent protests and the subsequent police action.

"Me and the government are firm on this (CAA). Firm like a rock. There is no going back on this," Shah said when asked about the Opposition's demand.

Shah made the remarks during a session webcast at the India Economic Conclave held here.

The home minister expressed confidence about the controversial legislation passing the judicial test.

"We will definitely be able to defend the CAA in the Supreme Court. The Act will stand the scrutiny of the judiciary," he added.

"I fail to understand what in the CAA is against the interest of the minorities, particularly the Muslims," he asked.

Shah accused the Congress, the TMC, Left parties and the AAP of running a 'false' campaign against the new citizenship law.

He further challenged the Opposition, saying "Is there any country in the world which does not have a register of its citizens?

"Can the Congress party ask for giving citizenship to all the Muslim brothers from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh? Let Sonia Gandhi, other opposition leaders make a statement in this regard."

With some non-BJP-ruled states like Punjab and West Bengal saying they will not implement the CAA, the Union minister said states do not have that option.

"Citizenship is completely a central government's subject and not of the state," he said.

Shah claimed that "by and large" the situation in the country is under control after series of protests over the CAA in different parts.

"There is now peace in the entire north-east, there is peace now in (West) Bengal too. Incidents took place in Delhi at one or two places," he added.

The home minister said no action is being taken against students opposing the CAA.

However, action is being taken only against those engaging in vandalism and arson during protests, he said.

Taking potshots at Rahul Gandhi's recent "I am not Savarkar" remark, Shah said the Congress leader cannot be like the legendary freedom fighter.

"He cannot even be Savarkar. For, to be Savarkar, one needs to make a lot of sacrifices and have patriotism. Nothing of this reflects in the personality of Rahul Gandhi.

"He cannot spend even 12 hours in Cellular jail, while Savarkar was in the jail for 12 years (in solitary confinement and harsh conditions during British rule). Rahul Gandhi does not know this," Shah quipped.

Addressing the Congress' mega 'Bharat Bachao Rally' in Delhi last Saturday, Rahul Gandhi had rejected the BJP's demand for an apology over his "rape in India" barb, and added that his name was Rahul Gandhi, not "Rahul Savarkar", and he will never apologise for speaking the truth.

Shah also took a jibe at Gandhi, saying the Congress leader was not to be seen when opposition leaders met the president earlier in the day and added some journalist told him the Wayanad MP is in Korea.

"Some journalist SMSed me about it. I have not verified the claim," Shah said.

Shah, who is also BJP president, exuded confidence about his party winning the next year's Delhi Assembly polls.

He said the BJP will secure complete majority in the 70-member Assembly in the national capital, currently ruled by the Aam Aadmi Party.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who led the opposition delegation, alleged the Modi government was "shutting down" people's voices and bringing legislations which are not acceptable to them.

Large parts of the country, especially West Bengal and the North-east, saw widespread protests after the CAA was enacted last week.

Published 17 December 2019, 22:08 IST

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