BJP begins campaign to douse anti-CAA protests


Rijiju meets Soosa Pakiam and other opinion leaders

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday launched a campaign in Kerala to stave off mounting criticism that the recently enacted Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was patently anti-Muslim.

Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju had arrived in the State with a mission to assuage the fears of the minorities about the law. Kerala had emerged as a hotbed of anti-CAA protests and the State Legislative Assembly had recently passed a near-unanimous resolution demanding its repeal.

Mr. Rijiju met Thiruvananthapuram Archbishop (Latin rite) Soosa Pakiam M., writer George Onakkoor, leading Muslim businesspersons and other opinion leaders as part of the BJP’s nationwide campaign to dampen the anti-CAA protests.

The jury was still out on whether Mr. Rijiju’s mission met with any measure of success. However, by some accounts, the BJP Minister listened to some “straight talk” from the Archbishop and Mr. Onakkoor.

The Archbishop reportedly told Mr. Rijiju that the Centre was speaking in different voices about the CAA. The legislation had caused a grave sense of insecurity among minorities. The people feared the CAA, when implemented along with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would render lakhs Stateless.

By depriving naturalised Muslim refugees and migrants the chance to acquire citizenship, the Centre had introduced a clause that empowered the law to discriminate against persons based on their religion. It had set off a ripple of fear among other minority communities that they could become the target of similar discriminatory Parliamentary legislation in the future, the Archbishop said.

Mr. Onakoor reportedly told Mr. Rijiju that it was incumbent on the Centre to mitigate the fear the CAA had caused in minorities. He could not approve of any law that discriminated citizens based on their religion.

Mr. Rijiju told newspersons later that the law was not anti-Muslim. India had accorded citizenship to Pakistanis, including singer Adnan Sami. He said certain people had reservations about the CAA. They felt the Centre had not been able to convince a section of society. “If they are not convinced yet, then we are here to convince them,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:43:04 PM |

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