CAA: ‘Do they have right to refuse?’ asks Amit Shah slamming Mamata, others

Union Home and Cooperation Minister, Amit Shah addresses the inauguration of a new office building for three Multistate Cooperative Societies Bhartiya Beej Sahakari Samiti Limited (BBSSL), National Cooperative Organics Limited (NCOL) and National Cooperative Export Limited (NCEL), at the World Trade Centre, Naoroji Nagar in New Delhi on 13 March, 2024ANI

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has questioned some Chief Ministers of non-BJP ruled states who have been opposing the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act and claiming that they would not allow its implementation in their state.

The home minister asserted that the CAA does not violate any provision of the constitution and only the central government is empowered to enact laws concerning citizenship and implement them.

In an interview with ANI, Amit Shah said that CAA has been brought by the Modi government and “it is impossible to repeal it”. He accused the opposition leaders of practicing “politics of appeasement”.

“Do you have the right that you can refuse its implementation? They also understand that they do not have the rights. In our constitution, the right to make laws concerning citizenship has been given only to parliament. This is a Central subject, not the state’s, both the law and its implementation,” Amit Shah said.

He asserted that all political parties would come on board and cooperate after the Lok Sabha election.

“Article 11 of our constitution gives all the powers to make rules regarding citizenship to the parliament. I think everyone will cooperate after the elections. They are spreading misinformation for appeasement politics,” he said.

The Centre notified the rules for implementation of CAA earlier this week. The bill was passed by parliament in December 2019, the first year of the second successive term of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

With the Centre notifying rules for CAA implementation, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan slammed the law and said they will not implement it in their states.

The Congress has slammed the Centre over the timing of implementation of CAA, saying the rules have been notified ahead of Lok Sabha polls expected to be held in April-May this year.

Asked about remarks from a Congress leader that CAA will be repealed if the INDIA alliance comes to power in 2024, Amit Shah targeted the opposition bloc and said they also know they will not come to power.

“CAA has been brought by the BJP government led by PM Modi. It is impossible to repeal CAA...It is a fully constitutional law,” he said.

Answering a query about remarks made by PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti concerning CAA, he said the Supreme Court has not stayed the law. He also targeted her over Article 370, saying that it was also challenged in court decades back but it continued to be used till it was repealed by the BJP-led government.

Amit Shah also challenged former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to make his stand clear on the implementation of CAA.

“I want to ask Uddhav Thackeray to make it clear whether CAA should be implemented or not. He wants minority votes and is doing appeasement politics,” he said.

“All opposition parties including Asaduddin Owaisi, Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee are doing politics of lies. There is no question of timing. BJP said in its manifesto in 2019 that we will bring CAA and give citizenship to refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan... In 2019, it was passed by both Houses but got delayed due to Covid... The opposition wants to do appeasement politics and wants to consolidate their vote bank. They have been exposed and the people of the country know that CAA is the law of this country. I have said 41 times that it would be implemented before the elections,” he added.

The home minister further said there is no need for any section or any person to fear because there is no provision in CAA to take away anyone’s citizenship.

“CAA is only to give rights to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Christians and Parsi refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan...”

Answering a query, he said those who get citizenship under CAA will be added to the citizenship list like every common citizen of India. “They will have as many rights as you or I have. They can contest elections and become MP, MLA, CM and Ministers.”

“All those people who have entered India between 15 August, 1947 and 31 December, 2014 are welcome here. As per my knowledge, there are 85 per cent people who have relevant documents. We will find a solution for those who don’t have the documents. Even Muslims have the right to apply for citizenship in India under the rules of the Constitution,” he added.

Referring to Congress governments in the past, he said they have a history of not fulfilling their promises.

“The opposition has no other work, they even said that there was political benefit in surgical strikes and air strikes, so should we not take action against terrorism? They also said that the abrogation of Article 370 was also for our political benefit. We have been saying since 1950 that we will remove Article 370. Their history is that they do not do what they say, PM Modi’s history is that whatever BJP has said, whatever Narendra Modi has said is set in stone. Every guarantee given by PM Modi will be fulfilled,” he said.

He said Congress leaders at the time of partition had said that people who had faced persecution can come.

“When you partition the country on the basis of religion, and those minorities (in those countries) who faced persecution, they are being converted, women of the minority section were being tortured and came to India. They came to our refuge; don’t they have a right to get our citizenship?”

“But due to appeasement politics, Congress never fulfilled its promise...I believe it is our moral and constitutional responsibility to give refuge to those who are persecuted on the basis of religion,” he said.

‘Rahul Gandhi must publicly explain Congress stand on CAA’

Amit Shah has dismissed former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his party’s criticism of the Citizenship Amendment Act, rules of which were notified this week.

He challenged the Congress leader to appear on a public platform and put forth the case of his party on the issue.

“I request you to interview Rahul Gandhi about the issue in detail and explain his reason for opposing the CAA to the general public. In politics, it’s your responsibility to justify your decisions. If the CAA is a decision by my government, I have to explain my party’s position, the government’s decision and why it is in favour of the nation. Similarly, Rahul Gandhi should explain his opposition to the legislation.”

Earlier, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh had questioned the timing of the promulgation of the rules of the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Congress alleged that this was a controversial law because citizenship is never based on religion, it goes against the Constitution.

In reply the home minister said that the opposition was only indulging in politics of lies as the CAA had been a part of the BJP’s manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and was introduced in Parliament in 2019 itself.

“Rules are now a formality. There is no question of timing, political gain or loss. Now, the Opposition wants to consolidate their vote bank by doing appeasement politics. I want to request them that they have been exposed. CAA is the law for the entire country and I have reiterated nearly 41 times in four years that it will become a reality,” he added.

The home minister said that there is “no question of political gain as the main aim of the BJP is to provide rights and justice to persecuted minorities coming from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Why does Kejriwal not speak about Bangladeshi infiltrators?

Responding to the criticism made by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal regarding the CAA, Amit Shah asserted that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo’s outburst stemmed from his party’s alleged exposure in corruption cases and said if he is concerned about national security that he must talk about Bangladeshi infiltrators.

Arvind Kejriwal this week reiterated his earlier remarks on the Citizenship Amendment Act stating that more migration will now take place than what happened after independence. He further claimed that law and order will collapse and subsequently lead to a rise in thefts, robberies, and rapes.

Amit Shah told ANI, “The Delhi Chief Minister has lost his temper after his party’s alleged corruption got exposed.”

“He (Kerjiwal) is unaware that all these people have already taken refuge in our country. They are living in India. Those who arrived in our country by 2014 will get citizenship,” Shah said.

“And if he is concerned, why does he not talk about Bangladeshi infiltrators? Why does he not protest against Rohingyas? It is because they are doing vote-bank politics. He will face a very tough time during elections in Delhi that is why he is doing vote-bank politics. Are Rohingyas and Bangladeshi infiltrators not taking our jobs? He is just raising his voice against minorities of Jains, Buddhists, and Parsis,” the Union Minister said.

Amit Shah further said that leaders like Arvind Kejriwal have no sympathy for those who came here after being persecuted in their countries.

“They have forgotten the background of the Partition. These refugees came here after leaving their property worth millions behind. Why won’t we listen to their problems? They don’t get jobs and education here. Why won’t we express sympathy with them? It was not their decision to partition the country. It was the Congress which decided that and they promised them citizenship. Now they are backtracking on their promises,” he said.

On 11 March, the Union Home Ministry notified rules for the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, days ahead of the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled.

CAA aims to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants - including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians - who migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and arrived in India before 31 December, 2014.