Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 28th, 2020 said the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was brought to “correct historical injustice, fulfil promise to minorities in neighbouring nations”.
Speaking at a rally of the National Cadet Corps in Delhi, Modi spoke of the injustices made during partition, when a “line was drawn across a piece of paper”. “Our Government is solving problems that have languished for decades. The country knows the true face of the people who are applying a communal colour to it. The country is silent, surely, but is understanding it in detail,” Modi said.
He added, “People who are protesting against the CAA, are the same that protested against the Enemy Property Act as well. These people are spreading propaganda that the decisions our Government has taken have affected my reputation in the entire world. These rumour-mongers must understand that I don’t work for my reputation, but for India’s repute.”
Modi also attacked his political opponents who are opposing the CAA. “Since Independence, leaders who had helped Partition had promised the minorities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh that they can come back if they are persecuted. Gandhiji had the same wish as well. This was the same emotion behind the Nehru-Liaquat Pact. It was India’s responsibility to protect these people who were continuously persecuted on religious grounds. Now that our government has brought the CAA, some political parties are holding on to their vote-banks,” he said.
The CAA aims to grant citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who came to India on or before December 31st, 2014. Those protesting against the law say that the Act is discriminatory and creates a divide on the basis of religion.
Massive protests broke out in the country soon after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in both the houses of the parliament. As many as 26 people have been killed so far in the ongoing protests against the amended citizenship law. The legislation has been criticised in India and abroad for allegedly violating the Constitution of India and its promise of equality under Article 14.
The CAA was also criticised by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Six resolutions were moved in the parliament of the European Union (EU) on the CAA. The EU expressed concern that the CAA would create the “largest statelessness crisis in the world”.
Photo credit: @BJP4India