Jabalpur. Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday challenged former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee to prove that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) can take away somebody’s citizenship.
“I challenge Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi to find out a provision in the Citizenship Amendment Act that can take citizenship away from anyone in this country,” ANI quoted Shah as saying at public meeting in Jabalpur in Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh.
The Congress and the TMC are among the opposition parties that have opposed the CAA on the ground that it makes religion of test of citizenship. Opposition parties maintain that the CAA in conjunction with the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) can potentially leave a large number of disadvantaged Indian Muslims vulnerable to abuse by officials for lack of documents.
“We won’t sit quiet till each oppressed refugee from Pakistan gets Indian citizenship… Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and Sikh refugees from Pakistan have as much right on India as you and I do,” Shah said at the meeting, two days after the home ministry issued a gazette notification about the amended citizenship law coming into force from January 10.
The amended law provides for fast tracking Indian citizenship for non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Shah had earlier said the government won’t retreat “even an inch” on the CAA even as protests continue to rage in many parts of the country over the controversial law.
Shah’s challenge to Congress and TMC leaders came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Belur Math, headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission in Howrah that the amended law is only for those persecuted in Pakistan and not about taking away the citizenship of any Indian.
In Kolkata, anti-CAA demonstrators, mostly from Left parties and the Congress staged protests over the weekend during Modi’s two-day Bengal visit.
The BJP recently launched an outreach programme to dispel the confusion around the CAA but it hasn’t had any impact on protests against it so far.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)