PM Modi meets ministers amid widespread protests

PM Modi meets ministers amid widespread protests

PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held day-long deliberations with his council of ministers to review the performance of his government, a meeting that came in the backdrop of violent protests rocking the nation over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The meeting took a place a day before the prime minister is slated to address a public rally in Ramlila ground of Delhi and address the contentious CAA issue.

Battling the nationwide protest on the CAA, BJP on Saturday announced a mass contact programme to “expose the lies” of the opposition parties and apprise people of the details of the amended citizenship law in order to convince them that it is not against existing citizens.

There are also indications that the government could go slow on its earlier proposal to prepare the contentious National Register of Citizens (NRC). The government has vehemently denied any negative intent behind the CAA and has described the protest as the handiwork of "Congress, leftists and jihadist elements".

The ruling party had a threadbare discussion on the issue of citizenship and the protests being organised in the country in the meeting at the party headquarters, chaired by BJP Working President J P Nadda.

After the party meeting, BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav hit out at Congress for spreading confusion and referred to a video that showed former prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2003 when he was the leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha, demanding citizenship for persecuted Sikhs from Pakistan under special provisions for minorities of Bangladesh.

Yadav said that BJP will reach out to more than three crore families within the next 10 days, organise a rally in every district and hold press conferences across the country to inform masses about the new law. He rejected as “complete lie” the charge that the National Register for Citizens (NRC) discriminates against Muslims.

Speaking separately, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "the mountain of truth cannot be hidden by bushes of lies by trying to spread rumours about CAA."

The party took to Twitter releasing a fact-sheet "Spread facts, not myths" on CAA a day after hundreds of BJP supporters led by a newly-joined leader Kapil Mishra (from AAP to BJP) took out a march in favour of CAA in Delhi’s heart Connaught Place. A similar rally took place in Mumbai on Saturday. The Party has also decided to organise district-wise “intellectual meets” and support the rallies that favour CAA.

On Saturday a group of 1100 academicians came out in support of Modi government’s decision on CAA and appealed to every section of the society "to exercise restraint and refuse to fall into the trap of propaganda, communalism and anarchism".

The signatories to the statement include Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta, Shishir Bajoria, Chairman, IIM Shillong, Sunaina Singh, vice-chancellor, Nalanda University, Ainul Hasan, Dean, SLL and CS, JNU, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, Senior Fellow, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and journalist Kanchan Gupta.

"We note with deep anguish that an atmosphere of fear and paranoia is being created in the country through deliberate obfuscation and fear-mongering, leading to violence in several parts of the country," they said in the statement.


Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox