At Ramlila Maidan rally, Narendra Modi says CAA will benefit marginalised, claims his govt has held no discussions on nationwide NRC

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a rally in Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, criticised the parties opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act

  • The prime minister clarified that the amended Citizenship Act is not for any Indian citizen, be it Hindu or Muslim

  • He also said that there have been no discussions on the NRC exercise since 2014 and no detention centres have been built yet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a rally in Delhi on Sunday, slammed parties opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, insisting that the legislation passed by Parliament aims at the betterment of minorities without a bias on the basis of religion.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by both the Houses of the Parliament earlier this month, clearing way for the granting of citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists who moved to India on or before 31 December, 2014, from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution. The passage of the Bill led to the beginning of violent protests all over the country.

 At Ramlila Maidan rally, Narendra Modi says CAA will benefit marginalised, claims his govt has held no discussions on nationwide NRC

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan. PTI

The prime minister clarified that the amended Citizenship Act is not for any Indian citizen, be it Hindu or Muslim. He said the legislation will benefit the marginalised and give them a dignified, respectful life. “Refugees approach officials for help. But intruders hides in the dark and never let their identity be known,” he said, adding that the Act is to “give citizenship, not snatch it”.

He cited examples of leaders who had once supported the Citizenship Act, including Congress leader and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot. He also hit out at West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, reminding the audience that she had asked before the Parliament to stop infiltration from Bangladesh and wanted help for the refugees coming in from the country. “What changed? Why are you spreading false rumours?” Modi asked.

“They (Dalit leaders, the Opposition, protesters) need to understand that the refugees who have come from Pakistan are mostly Dalits. These Dalit people were employed as bonded labour in Pakistan. Girls are religiously converted and forced to marry in Pakistan. It is well-documented. It only happens because they follow a different religion,” Modi continued.

Modi further clarified that India has no detention centres and the National Register of Citizens, which was formulated during the Congress regime in 1951, was implemented in Assam in accordance with the Supreme Court’s orders.

He also stated that ever since his government first came to power in 2014, no discussions had been held on a nationwide NRC. He accused the Congress of practicing vote bank politics and aiming to rule in a divisive manner by spreading rumours about Muslims being sent to detention centres following the NRC exercise. He also blamed “educated, urban Naxals” for the same and urged the youth to read the Act.

Modi blamed the Opposition for spreading hate and rumours on social media and accused them of misleading Muslims. “When we took on the job of validating so many unauthorised colonies of Delhi, did we ask their religion, political affiliation or any proof from any year? This decision benefited people of all religions, and we only want ‘Sabka Saath, Vishwas, Vikas’,” he said.

He also called the attacks on campuses, buses, shops and other public property deplorable and said that a defeated, confused Opposition was provoking Muslims in the name of “papers and certificates”. He reminded the people that 33,000 policemen had died on duty since independence and said that they have protected the country irrespective of “religion and caste”. He also said that by remaining silent, politicians are giving silent support to the atrocities that the police is being subjected to.

Modi’s statement comes shortly after the police were criticized for breaking into campuses such as Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University and detaining students illegally. Police action during violent protests in parts of the North East, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal also invited criticism.

Modi challenged the Opposition to look into his work and present before the country any evidence of bias.

Modi also launched the BJP’s camping ahead of the Delhi Assembly polls due to be held in February. He focussed on the passage of the NCT of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill by the Parliament during the Winter Session.

The legislation provides for a legal framework to grant ownership rights of land to more than 40 lakh people living in unauthorised colonies in Delhi. “Our government ensured that you get complete rights of the most important asset – your land. Under the previous government, residents of unauthorised colonies lived in fear, uncertainty, worry and false promises,” he said.

Modi said that residents of such colonies dealt with “bulldozers, sealing and cut-off dates”, the deadline of which would be extended every time an election would be around the corner. Stressing on the work done by the Centre, he said that the work to demarcate boundaries of 1,700 colonies has been done and maps of over 1,200 colonies have been put on the relevant portal.

Calling the common man his VIP, Modi slammed the previous governments for providing the people of Delhi with mere lip service. “They helped out people in bungalows and never defined boundaries of your colonies. We ensured that over 2,000 bungalows in Delhi be vacated by the VIPs and 40 lakh poor and middle class people get homes,” he said.

Modi also stressed on the rapid expansion of the Delhi Metro network, pointing out that while it grew at the speed of 14 kilometres per year under the previous government, the BJP government at the Centre brought the figure up to 25 kilometres per year. He also raised the issues of Delhi’s air pollution and water crises and fighting against Pakistan-sponsored terror.

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Updated Date: Dec 22, 2019 17:34:24 IST