Indicating a hardening of stance on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the face of ongoing protests, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday asserted that the Centre would not revoke the CAA under any circumstances.
Addressing a pro-CAA rally organised by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Lucknow this afternoon, Shah blamed the opposition parties including Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), etc for allegedly peddling lies for vote bank politics.
“No matter how much opposition is mounted on us, the CAA will not be rolled back,” he said to a thunderous applause in the rally. This was his first public meeting after officially relinquishing the post of BJP national president yesterday with his trusted lieutenant J P Nadda replacing him.
Reiterating that CAA was aimed at granting citizenship to persecuted religious minorities, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Christians, in the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and not taking away the citizenship of Indians, Shah noted that a lie would never become a truth even if spoken a 100 times.
Referring to the alleged anti-national slogans chanted in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), he warned that those indulging in such slogan shouting and calling for the disintegration of the nation would be put behind bars.
Shah challenged top opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Mamta Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, etc for a public debate on the CAA issue and claimed there was not even a single provision in the Act for taking away the citizenship of an Indian.
The home minister slammed opposition leaders for allegedly stoking riots, arson and violence for vested political interests, and spreading misinformation among the minorities in India about the CAA.
Shah recalled the statements of Mahatma Gandhi and prominent Congress leaders, including Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, etc supporting the idea of granting citizenship to persecuted minorities in the neighbouring countries after Partition.
Claiming that the population of minorities in Pakistan and East/Bangladesh had dwindled from 23 per cent and 30 per cent during partition (1947) to 3 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively, at present, he sought to know what had happened to the minorities and said they were either killed or converted. He even blamed the Congress for dividing the country along religious lines.
Shah further flayed the opposition for turning a blind eye to the plight of the Kashmiri pandits who were forced to leave the valley due to militancy in Jammu & Kashmir. He said the revocation of Article 370 was ushering in peace in the valley and permanently rooting out terrorism.
He observed that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan were on the same page on various issues, namely CAA, Article 370 and seeking proof of surgical and air strikes.
Meanwhile, he announced that the construction of a grand and high rise Lord Ram temple in Ayodhya would commence in the next three months.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath said there was a concerted effort by the opposition to disrupt the developmental agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and therefore party cadres would speak out strongly to expose their “lies and misinformation campaign”.