CAA meant to give citizenship, not take it away, says Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses at restored 'Old Currency Building' during inauguration of 'Ghare-Baire'- an exhibition of art, in Kolkata, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was aimed at giving citizenship and not taking it away. 

Addressing a gathering of youth at Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, in West Bengal’s Howrah district, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, Mr. Modi accused those opposing the amended law of “playing political games” and “fuelling misconception among the youth”.

‘A lot of questions’

“What is there in this Act? Why was it needed? There are a lot of questions in the minds of the youth which have been fuelled by various people. Lot of youth have awareness. Yet, there are some who are victims of misconception, rumours. It is our responsibility to make them understand,” he said. 

Mr. Modi’s remarks on the day, also observed as International Youth Day, assumes significance as there were widespread protests in Kolkata against the CAA during his two-day visit, particularly by youth and students.

He asked the audience whether people who faced “religious persecution in neighbouring countries should be left to die”.

"We only implemented what the great freedom fighters including Gandhiji had wished to do".

 Reiterating that the Act is aimed at providing citizenship not taking it way, the Prime Minister said, "We are not taking anyone’s citizenship. A person irrespective of his or her religion, whether he/ she believes in God or not but has faith in the Constitution of India can seek citizenship under already laid down procedure”.

‘No adverse affect on demography of northeast’

The Prime Minister also tried to assure that the Centre has made provisions that the CAA will not have any "adverse impact on the demography and culture" of north eastern states.

“As far the question of north eastern states go they are our pride. The Centre has made provisions that there will be no adverse affect on culture and demography of north east because of this law,” he added.

Mr Modi said that had his government not brought the amendment to Citizenship Act, there would have been no debate on it and the world would not have taken note of the atrocities committed by Pakistan on its minorities. "It is the result of our initiative that Pakistan has to answer how they treated their minorities in the past 70 years,” he added. 

Takes a dig at Mamata

Later in the day participating at an event organized by the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) the Prime Minister raised the issue of non implementation of central schemes like Ayushman Bharat by the Mamata Banerjee led government. Ms Banerjee who had met the Prime Minister on Saturday has urged him to rethink on the CAA. She had also joined the protest of her party’s student wing against CAA on Saturday and on Sunday she did not participate in the sesquicentenary celebration of KoPT where she was scheduled to be present with Mr Modi.

“Under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, 8 crore farmers have benefitted as about 43,000 crores rupees have been transferred to their account through direct benefit transfer.. When there is a direct transfer, no cut money is involved syndicate does not get anything. Why would someone try to implement such a scheme,” Mr Modi said targeting the TMC government.

The Prime Minister said that he feels pained that benefits of Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi do not reach the people of West Bengal and added that he prays that” good sense prevails over the policy makers of Bengal." During the event the Prime Minister also announced that KoPT will be christened as Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust. Mr Modi said that Mookerjee, had set up foundation of industrialization but his contributions were largely ignored. 

Trinamool reacts

Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee said has said that they have “no differences with PM Modi renaming the Kolkata Port after one of the Stalwart legends of Bengal.” However, he added that it would not help the people of the State. “The name change brings very little relief or benefit to the lives of common people of Bengal,” he said. The Prime Minister, Mr. Abhishek Banerjee said, “could have announced any Port Development or Waterways Development initiatives which created further jobs & investments, it would have been the perfect gift to the youth of Bengal on Swami Vivekananda's birthday.”

He further noted that the Prime Minister has not responded to Ms. Banerjee’s appeal to disburse “approximately ₹30,000 crore due to be paid to West Bengal, ₹7,000 Crore grant for Cyclone Bulbul, the Iron Bridge he had promised 3 years ago for Gangasagar Mela etc, all these burning issues which needed attention from the PM, seemed completely missing.”

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 4:46:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/pm-modi-says-caa-is-aimed-at-giving-citizenship-not-taking-it-away/article30548665.ece

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