P Chidambaram likens CAA protests to those in Hong Kong

P Chidambaram likens CAA protests to those in Hong Kong

“The bill is clearly suspected because it picks three countries and six religions but excludes Sri Lankan Hindus and Bhutanese Christians," said former finance minister P Chidambaram. (PTI Photo)

Likening the agitation against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) to the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, former Union Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said it was for the government to decide whether to “correct course” through dialogue or force itself to a situation where it corrects mistakes because of “street riots”.

Terming the CAA as “suspect bill” and “constitutionally immoral”, Chidambaram accused the BJP of changing the fundamental nature of citizenship from territoriality to religion and sought to know what the tearing hurry was in getting the Bill passed in both houses of Parliament within three days of the Union Cabinet clearing it.

“The bill is clearly suspect because it picks three countries and six religions but excludes Sri Lankan Hindus and Bhutanese Christians. Whichever is implemented first, either the NRC or the CAA, the net result is that it will exclude only Muslims,” Chidambaram said, delivering his talk on “The Current National Situation: Where are we headed?” organized by the Chennai International Centre here.

Accusing the Narendra Modi government of aggressively pushing the “Hindu Rashtra” agenda of the RSS in the first seven months of its second tenure without bothering about economy and agriculture, Chidambaram alleged that the BJP was using the “latent friction” between Hindus and Muslims in northern states to further its agenda.

Contending that one has to “live with this government” for the next four- years and five months, Chidambaram said the Opposition parties and people can only try and persuade them to correct course through dialogue, debate, and discussion.

“But if that fails, it will spill over into the streets and they will be forced to correct course. I hope they will correct the course through dialogue, debate, and discussion. If they are forced to correct course because of street riots, so be it. What can I do? It is similar to the Hong Kong situation today. The ruler does not listen to the people,” Chidambaram added.

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