Ant-CAA protesters gathered at the Dharna Chowk in Hyderabad. (Express photo by Rahul Pisharody/File)
The Telangana BJP has lodged a complaint against Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLA Arekapudi Gandhi whose comments on the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) has triggered a row. A video that has gone viral on the social media, Gandhi can be heard saying: "Muslim will be sent back even if they have come from Pakistan, Rajasthan Maharashtra or Karnataka as long as Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is there."
Inspector B. Laxminarayana Reddy of Kukatpally police station confirmed having received a complaint against the MLA from BJP convenor in Serilingampally P Butchi Reddy and other party leaders Thursday. The BJP leaders have alleged that the TRS MLA was trying to create communal discord among people. "The complaint is based on the video where the MLA can be seen speaking. We have received it and waiting for a legal opinion on the matter," said the inspector.
Speaking to a group of Muslims from his constituency Serilingampally Thursday, Gandhi can be heard saying in the video: "Nobody can throw you (Muslims) out even if you have come from Pakistan, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, or Karnataka as long as CM KCR is alive. If such a situation arises, local corporators and I will come out with you and support you."
He also alleged that some BJP workers were moving around Hafeezpet, Hydernagar, Allwyn colony areas to conduct internal surveys on the CAA and asked locals to revolt against them.
According to the TRS MLA, his party has opposed the CAA in Parliament and the state. Gandhi said that the CM has said he would hold a conclave against the implementation of CAA, if necessary. Asserting that the CAA will not be implemented in Telangana, he said. "I am telling you openly. It does not matter if you have come from Pakistan, Karnataka or Maharasthra, it does not matter to us. You are in my constituency, in our Telangana. You are all our family. You won't face any injustice. " He asked the public to inform him or corporators if anyone is spreading rumours.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Gandhi clarified he was only trying to instil confidence in the people of his constituency who expressed fear of being sent away. "Some 250-300 persons from my constituency came to me expressing fear and anguish as some people were found doing CAA related survey in the locality. There are people from all over the country and abroad living in my constituency. They asked me why should they go to Pakistan or elsewhere when they have been living here for last 15-20 years. I reassured them saying they can continue the way they live. What is the problem in that?" he asked, adding "these detractors(BJP) are trying to dilute the actual issues(of development) by raking up silly controversies."
Earlier, responding to the TRS MLA's comments, BJP's lone MLA in Telangana, T Raja Singh asked the former if he knows well about the CAA. "I challenge you and the CM, please read the law first. You will be at a loss if you oppose any legislation brought by the Centre to make your ally MIM happy," he said.
Further, he asked if the state government will give citizenship to those who have come from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc and have made the city their home. "Will you give them houses and let them live here? I am asking the chief minister. You(CM) want to pass a resolution against CAA in assembly. I challenge you(CM) to declare this," he added.