'India only shelter for minorities from Pakistan'

'India only shelter for minorities from Pakistan'

Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh. (PTI Photo)

Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday said India is the only shelter for religiously persecuted Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities who come from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan, for the safety of their life and honour.

"India owes responsibility towards the minorities living in these countries which proclaim Islam as their state religion," Singh said here while launching the BJP's countrywide 10-day mass contact drive to spread awareness about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Accompanied by senior party colleagues, including former deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta and former minister Sat Sharma, he began by visiting the house of veteran columnist, writer and Padmashri awardee K L Pandita, where he spent time with them discussing the Act.

Later, he visited prominent social activist Amjad Mirza, eminent Sikh religious leader Baba Swaranjit Singh, retired High Court judge Justice G D Sharma, veteran journalist and former bureau head of Hind Samachar group Gopal Sachar, retired principal of Jammu government medical college Subhash Gupta, social activist and president of Peoples' Forum Ramesh Sabharwal, among others.

During his interaction with them, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office claimed that Congress leaders and their allies protesting against the Act are doing so without "conviction".

He opined that if a "survey" was conducted among the family members of these Congress leaders, then, even they would not support their "anti-CAA stand".

"The tragedy of Congress party and contemporary leaders of Congress is that either they do not read their own history or are blissfully ignorant of the statements made by their own party patriarchs and former prime ministers," he said.

The minister recalled that the Nehru-Liaquat Pact of 1950 was inspired by the realisation on the part of the then Congress government headed by prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru that minorities, particularly Hindus, were not getting a fair deal in Pakistan.

"In 1949, Nehru had written a letter expressing concern about people coming in from then East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh, and while doing so, he had referred to Hindus coming from there as 'refugees' and Muslims arriving here as 'immigrants'," Singh said.

Further, Nehru had stated that India owed a "responsibility" to these refugees, the minister said.

Referring to the opposition of senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi to the amended legislation, the minister said someone should show them records of proceedings of the winter session of Parliament in 1950 when their great-grandfather (Nehru) had himself said that they deserved to be given citizenship and if the law was inadequate for it, then, the law should be changed.

"PM Modi should actually be given credit for showing courage and conviction to carry forward the task, which the Congress government lacked, to accomplish this," the minister opined.

Singh reiterated that a false fear psychosis against Muslims is being sought to be manufactured when there is no place as safe and comfortable to live for the community as India.

Turning the tables on the opposition to the National Population Register(NPR) and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), Singh pointed out that PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have been stating that the exercise on NRC is yet to begin.

He also said that it was then Union home minister P Chidambaram, who had stated in Parliament in 2010 that NPR could be a basis for NRC.

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