Govt reaches out to interfaith delegation; apprises it on CAA

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) The government on Wednesday apprised an interfaith delegation about various aspects of the new citizenship law, which has been opposed by students of many universities and some sections of people, and conveyed that the legislation has nothing to do with any Indian, officials said.

The outreach by Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy comes in the wake of violent protests and public unrest under the pretext of opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The Union minister apprised the delegation that the newly-enacted legislation is not against any Indian and is based on a perfect rationale and objective premise, an official said.

The delegation comprised spiritual gurus and social reformers from different faiths and sects, including Jain Acharya Lokesh, Swami Deepankar, Mufti Shamoon Qasmi, Sardar Sant Singh, Veer Chakra Awardee Col (Retd) T P Tyagi besides others.

According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.  During the meeting, the delegation expressed solidarity with the government on the new law.

The team expressed faith in the policies of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official statement said.

The delegation was told that the CAA concerns foreigners and no Indian, from whichever religion, caste, colour or creed, has anything to fear.

Highlighting the principles of 'dharma' and 'ahimsa', the delegation affirmed their belief that the legislation was passed on humanitarian grounds for those who fled from the three countries fearing persecution and migrated to India for solace and safety.

The statement quoted the delegation as saying that India being a land of mutual acceptance and harmony, it is unacceptable that one protests against a decision that aims to alleviate the suffering of those uprooted families.

The delegation further expressed that resilience of Indian democracy lies in the strength of the collectivism, the belief in country's principles of non-violence and acceptance and adherence to the principles of the Constitution.

They reiterated the fact that 'we all identify ourselves as Indians before anything else and it keeps us together', the statement said.

'It is this faith and belief that will keep us together and strong in the face of storm, let loose by forces that do not want to see us united and growing,' it said.

They urged the people to guard themselves against misinformation meant to destabilise the foundations of mutual respect and acceptance.

As a symbolic gesture of religious harmony and peace, the delegation wished to reach out to the people with this message of non-violence and religious harmony.

They also expressed their desire to meet Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah with this message of peace and solidarity. PTI ACB ZMN