PM Modi defended the citizenship law enacted by his government to protect religious minorities from neighbouring countries but also launched a sharp attack at the Congress.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday defended the citizenship law enacted by his government to protect religious minorities from neighbouring countries but also launched a sharp attack at the “Congress and its ecosystem’ that were spreading “imaginary fears” that the law would snatch citizenship from Indians.
“No Indian – whether Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Christians… – will lose their citizenship because of this law,” he told the Lok Sabha in his reply to the discussion on the motion of thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind for his address to the joint session of Parliament.
PM Modi, who dealt with the opposition attacks over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill towards the end of his 100-minute reply, urged the opposition to review its stand and warned that the protests and refusal of people to comply with laws would throw the country on the path to anarchy.
“If the Rajasthan assembly enacts a law and no one accepts it, what will be the situation? If the Madhya Pradesh assembly decides something and people come out on the streets against it, can you run a country like this. This will be the path to anarchy,” he said.
The thrust of PM Modi’s reply to criticism over the citizenship law was to attack the Congress-led opposition – he said the same set of people who have no qualms getting photographed with people who want to split the country (tukde tukde gang) – that was spreading lies and rumours about the law to mislead people.
He launched a stinging counter-attack at the Congress too, saying it was one party where people should talk about saving the constitution, particularly given the number of occasions when it had violated the constitution’s spirit.
“There has been talk of ‘save constitution’. I agree, Congress should say this 100 times in a day. Maybe they will realize their past mistakes. Did you forget this slogan during Emergency? When elected governments were dismissed? When cabinet resolutions were torn?” he said.
Or when he navigated the topic to the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 when thousands of Sikhs were killed, some burnt alive. And yet, the Congress had appointed a leader accused of involvement in the riots as chief minister of a state.
He also quoted from a letter written by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the then Chief Minister of Assam Gopinath Bordoloi before the Nehru – Liaqat Pact to protect minorities in either countries was inked.
“This is for those who accuse us of Hindu-Muslim. Nehru said in this letter, ‘You must make a difference between Hindu refugees and Muslim immigrants and the country must take responsibility of the refugees,” PM Modi said.
After the Nehru-Liaqat pact, PM Modi said, Nehru told the Lok Sabha on 5 November 1950 that there was no doubt that the affected people who have come to India should be given citizenship and if the law does not permit, the law should be changed.
“I want to ask the Congress. Was Pandit Nehru communal? Did he want a Hindu Rashtra?” PM Modi said, playing back the charges that have been levelled at his government and party for pushing ahead with the citizenship law.