Amid continuing protests by Muslims over CAA, NRC and NPR in Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK on Friday, 21 February, sought to reassure the community, saying it will not allow anything that would harm minorities and charged its arch-rival DMK with trying to create confusion through false propaganda.
The Edappadi K Palaniswami government has also written to the Centre that certain information and documents like Aadhaar should be avoided in the upcoming Census, the party said, in an apparent reference to apprehensions being raised over certain aspects of the National Population Register process.
“No injustice will be meted out to any minority brother and sister in Tamil Nadu. The government will not allow any activity against minorities. AIADMK will be a true friend for the Muslim community forever,” a party statement said appealing for maintaining communal harmony.
The statement by top AIADMK leaders Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Chief Minister Palaniswami comes in the backdrop of latest round of protests here and some other parts of the state against the amended citizenship law, NPR and the national register of citizens.
Among others, a massive protest was held on Wednesday in which thousands of Muslims, including women, took part and urged the state assembly to adopt an anti-CAA resolution in the session that ended on Thursday.
Besides, Old Washermenpet in north Chennai has been witnessing protest by Muslims and others over the CAA, NPR and NRC since 14 February and been dubbed as "Chennai's Shaheen Bagh" in the social media.
AIADMK Coordinator Panneerselvam and Joint Coordinator Palaniswami in their joint statement said the NPR was formulated during the Congress-led UPA government in 2010, in which the DMK was a key constituent.
The government was keen on protecting the country's sovereignty, supporting schemes taken up "as per" court directives and maintaining cordial ties with the Centre and neighbouring states as much as possible for Tamil Nadu's welfare, they said.
It has written to the Centre that information like mother tongue, parentage, spouse' birthday and place and documents like Aadhaar and voter ID, besides mobile number "should be avoided" during the 2020 Census, the leaders said.
The AIADMK government treading the path laid down by party stalwarts late MG Ramachandran (MGR) and J Jayalalithaa "will determinedly strive to uphold brotherhood and equality that will benefit the minority community," they said.
“All, especially the Muslim brothers and sisters should understand that anti-social elements and some political parties which will carry out any heinous activity to come to power are trying to scuttle law and order.”
Training their guns against their arch-rival, they said “it is condemnable that unable to stomach AIADMK government's growing public support, DMK is trying to instigate and spread a false propaganda to create confusion among Muslims.”
The DMK is steadfastly opposed to CAA, NPR and NRC and has been staging protests, especially against the amended citizenship act. The party has been targeting the AIADMK, saying but for its support the citizenship amendment bill would not have been passed in the Rajya Sabha.
Panneerselvam and Palaniswami maintained that the AIADMK was a "true secular" movement which did not discriminate in the name of religion and treated all as brothers, on the lines of MGR, the party founder, and Jayalalithaa.
Ever since the days of Ramachandran, the party has stood by the Muslims as their “protector and friend”, the two leaders said and listed out the various welfare measures being implemented for the community.
On NRC in Assam, they said it was carried out in accordance with the Supreme Court directions “but is not meant for the entire country.”
“The Centre has already clarified it is not against minorities, especially Muslims,” they said, adding, the Centre has not expanded it to other states beyond Assam.
Calling for brotherhood, the two leaders said “false propaganda and mischief” against the government should be ignored and that all should strive for communal harmony.
“The minorities should be alert and be careful to those trying to conspire mischievous campaigns for their own selfish interests and maintain calm,” they appealed.
Palaniswami had in the state assembly on Tuesday accused the DMK of deceiving the people over the CAA and dared it to explain "which minority" community has been affected by the law in the state.
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