Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday made it clear that his government won’t go back on the amended citizenship law and the protesters can continue with their agitation if they wish to. "I want to say it again that our government is not going back on the Citizenship Act. Those who want to protest may continue doing so," he said addressing a rally in Lucknow.
This is the second time that Shah has made such a statement. He had earlier said that he would not go back on the legislation even if the entire opposition comes together. He made that remark after Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan passed a resolution in Assembly seeking scrapping of the CAA. He also requested other states to do so. Days later, Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government passed a similar resolution asking the central government to reconsider the legislation that has sparked protests in some parts of the country.
Today, the Home Minister asserted that there was no question of going back on legislation which does not affect any Indians. He said that the opposition parties were spreading "lies" about the CAA. "There is no provision of taking anyone's citizenship in the Citizenship Act. Lies being spread against it by the Congress, SP, BSP and TMC," he added.
Justifying his government’s move of giving some relaxations to minorities from neighboring countries, the union minister further said that Hindu, Sikh Buddhist and Jain constituted 30 per cent of the population in Bangladesh and 23 per cent in Pakistan at the time of Partition. "But today, it's just 7 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively. Where have these people gone?" Shah asked the protesters who are against the CAA.
Shah also referred to the recent violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University and said that those talking about "breaking Bharat Mata into 1000 pieces" will be sent to jail. "Anti-national slogans were chanted in JNU. Those who chant that India should be broken into a thousand pieces, should be put in jail or not? If you chant slogans against Bharat Mata, I will put you behind bars," he added.
The Home minister was in Lucknow as part of the BJP’s direct outreach programme on CAA aimed at dispelling rumours and apprehensions around the amended citizenship law. Several top ministers have been tasked with reaching out to the public as part of the programme.