The Bharatiya Janata Party is undertaking a massive campaign to dispel 'misinformation' on the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. However, the party seems to have been unable to quell protests from within. Latest news reports suggests that the party has been losing Muslim workers and leaders of its minority cell in large numbers in Madhya Pradesh, since the passage of the Act.
News18 reported that more than 80 members of Madhya Pradesh BJP's minority cell have resigned en masse on Wednesday, after the party refused to address their concerns about the contentious law.
The CAA, for the first time makes religion a criteria to fast-track citizenship for refugees from three countries, and essentially leaves out only Muslims from benefiting from the revised law. Furthermore, the party's previous statements have indicated that the process of implementing CAA cannot be de-hyphenated from the NRC, which puts the burden of proving citizenship on the citizens — many of whom lack valid documents. The guidelines for the required criteria to prove citizenship has not been revealed yet.
Meanwhile, the workers who quit the party said they feel the party has abandoned its original idea of development and growth and is instead indulging in unending list of Hindu-Muslim issues. Maximum numbers of resignations over the contentious issue were mostly from Indore, Mhow, Khargone and Dewas.
'The list of Hindu Muslim issues is unending. When they abrogated Article 370, we supported the party and said that it was a good move and now even we can go and live in Kashmir. Even after the triple talaq ended, we did not do any Hindu-Muslim and welcomed the decision. In the Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir dispute, we respected the party position and told our community that both a mosque and a temple are being given space, but the question is that how long will these communal issues go on. When one issue ends, another issue arises. Every day new issues are brought out. This seems never ending. When will we talk about growth, development and employment," a former BJP worker told News18.
Earlier, the party had expelled the state spokesperson of the minority cell Javed Baig for 'flouting' the party's social media guidelines on posts related to CAA and NRC.
"For years, we have been disciplined workers of the BJP and toed the party line on issues like triple talaq and Babri Masjid-Ram temple," he said, adding that he had only shared posts on police excesses on students in Jamia Milia Islamia and Jawaharal Nehru University in the national capital, and other campuses. "Is it a crime?" he asked.
Another office holder of the BJP minority cell in Madhya Pradesh, Akram Khan, also resigned from his post as a mark of protest against CAA and NRC and also complained about objectionable statements being made by party leaders against the Muslim community.
"I respect the party's decision on the CAA and the NRC and have been serving it for 25 years. But some colleagues have been making indecent comments against a particular community, which is unbearable and hurts sentiments," he told The Hindu.
Another upset party worker Tasleem Khan, the Khargone district head of minority cell, told News18, "At least 173 functionaries and 500 workers resigned from the morcha on 9 January. Leaders like me had associated ourselves to BJP to serve our own community, but what is the point in continuing when a 'draconian law' like CAA has been passed by the same party."
"We have been ignoring objectionable remarks from party seniors as personal remarks, but now this has gone beyond our toleration," he added.
However, the cell's district head in Bhopal, Mohammad Ajaz, refuted Khan's claim and said that only a handful of office-bearers have quit and the list of names were of small-level functionaries and even included fake names. He also called the leaders opportunists for walking out of the party after it lost power in the state.
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Updated Date: Jan 24, 2020 12:14:08 IST