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Published On: Sun, Dec 22nd, 2019

PM Modi defends defends contentious citizenship law amid protests

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2835NEW DELHI : Clashes have continued between Indian police and protesters angered by a new citizenship law that excludes Muslims, as the prime minister, Narendra Modi, used a rally for his Hindu saffron party to defend the CAA legislation, accusing the opposition of pushing the country into a “fear psychosis”.
“The Muslims of India don’t need to worry at all. The CAB and the NRC will not apply to the Muslims of the country. It’s a white lie.”“I request the youth of the country to read the Act in detail and not to fall prey to the rumors of detention-centers being spread by Urban Naxals and Congress. It’s a lie and is dividing the nation.”

Modi took the stage at a rally in the capital, launching his Bharatiya Janata party’s (BJP) campaign for New Delhi legislative assembly elections in February, and quickly turned to the contentious new law.“People who are trying to spread lies and fear, look at my work. If you see any trace of divisiveness in my work, show it to the world,” he said.‘They will lock us up or just kill us’: Muslims fearful in West Bengal
Modi accused the main opposition Congress party of conspiring “to push not only New Delhi but other parts of the country into a fear psychosis”.“They are trying every tactic to push me out of power,” he said, urging protesters to desist from attacks on police and other violence.
The law allows Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities who are in India illegally to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted because of their religion in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It does not apply to Muslims.
PM Modi accused the Congress and “urban Naxals” of spreading rumours about the issue. “I want to tell the 130 crore citizens of India that since my government has come to power, since 2014, there has been no discussion on NRC anywhere.

“There is a difference between an infiltrator and a refugee. An infiltrator never reveals his identity and a refugee never hides his identity. Many of these infiltrators are coming out and speaking. Why don’t they speak the truth? They are scared that their reality will come out.”“The Act will only apply to the people who’ve been living in India for several years now. No new refugee will benefit from the Citizenship Amendment Act.”

Only after the Supreme Court’s order, this exercise was done for Assam,” he said in his 97-minute speech, most of it devoted to the NRC and the new citizenship law, protests against which are being held across the country.
“Lies are being spread. There are leaders who told in TV interviews that NRC across India will involve such heavy expenses, but I want to say why you are you wasting your mental energy in something that is not even there? (Jo hai hi nahi usme kahaan itna dimag khapa rahe ho rey),” he added.
The opposition has been crying foul ever since Amit Shah said at an election rally that NRC was “for the whole country”.”The CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill) will come, all refugees will be given citizenship, and after that a NRC will be formed.
Refugees need not worry. Infiltrators will have to worry. Understand the chronology – first CAB, then NRC, and NRC is not just for West Bengal but for the full country,” Mr Shah had said while campaigning in West Bengal ahead of the Lok Sabha election.

The NRC meant to weed out illegal migrants from the country, was rolled out in Assam earlier this year and left 19 lakh people out, who are now unable to prove their citizenship. Many of them are now in detention centres. The opposition has alleged that the procedure, along with the new citizenship law, would be used to target Muslims.
On November 20, Amit Shah declared in parliament that the NRC will be extended to the entire country. “Whatever is happening in Assam is under the orders of the Supreme Court. The NRC process will be undertaken in the entire country,” he had said.

The Congress and Mamata Banerjee immediately called out the PM on the issue. In a tweet, Mamata Banerjee accused him of contradicting his Home Minister. Pointing out that Amit Shah had spoken on the government’s strategy on various forums, Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “The Home Minister said this in both the houses, it is now in public domain,” he said. The plan to “implement the NRC in a phased manner in other parts of the country” has also been mentioned in the BJP manifesto for the Lok Sabha election.
“First, we will bring the citizenship amendment bill and will give citizenship to the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain and Christian refugees, the religious minorities from the neighbouring nations. Then, we will implement NRC to flush out the infiltrators from our country,” Shah said in an election speech last April.
”“I want to ask Mamata didi, what changed? Why’re you spreading false rumors? Why’re you so afraid? You must believe in the people of West Bengal. Why’re you not trusting the people of your State?”
Twenty-three people have been killed nationwide since the law was passed in parliament earlier this month in protests that represent the first major roadblock for Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda since his party’s landslide re-election last spring. Most of the deaths have occurred in Uttar Pradesh, where 20% of the state’s 200 million people are Muslim.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory on Friday night asking broadcasters across the country to refrain from using content that could inflame further violence.
Critics have slammed the legislation as a violation of India’s secular constitution and have called it the latest effort by Modi’s government to marginalise the country’s 200 million Muslims.

 

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