Union Minister and BJP MP Pratap Sarangi on Saturday targeted the Congress over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). He said that the making of CAA was an atonement for the sin of the partition of the country. Targeting the opponents, Sarangi said that those who did not accept the integrity of India and Vande Mataram do not have the right to live in the country.
Sarangi was speaking to the media in Surat, Gujarat. When asked about the CAA, he said, “What have we done? The union government passed the citizenship bill to grant citizenship to the minorities who came to India from across the border as victims of religious persecution.”
Sarangi said further that the CAA was the atonement for the sin of Partition of the country. Given the history, the (Indian National) Congress (INC) should praise the changed law, he said.
Sarangi said that the INC had committed the sin (of partitioning the country) but “we are atoning for it, so they should welcome it”. He targeted the INC, saying, “Why are they opposing it? Because their very existence based on vote-banks is threatened. They are setting the country on fire.”
The minister said, “I do not consider anyone who sets people’s properties on fire a patriot. Those who do not accept India’s independence, integrity and Vandemataram have no right to live in the country.”
The Citizenship Act of 1955 stood amended on 11 December 2019. The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha that day by 125-105 votes. It had cleared the Lok Sabha the previous day by 311-80 votes. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who entered India before 2014 and stayed put in this country are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship even if those in Assam could not make it to the final list of the NRC on 31 August this year.
The law accepts as Indian citizens those non-Muslims who came to India as refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till 31 December 2014. Subsequent foreign non-Muslim seekers of Indian citizenship will have to apply for it.
Following the amendment in Sansad, pockets of resistance in some Muslim-dominated areas of the country erupted. The opposition led by the INC, communist parties, sinister political groups like the PFI, leftist intellectuals and the media, both national and international, threw their weight behind the youth, adding fuel to the fire with false and provocative information about the CAA.
Other than the Hindus in different refugee camps in Delhi and Rajasthan who are now applying for Indian citizenship, emboldened by the CAA, the government has itself reached out to the Bru community, which was thrown out of Mizoram for refusing to embrace Christianity, with the new law.
A section of intellectuals is trying to set the record straight.