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Opposition urges President to advise government to withdraw Citizenship Amendment Act

Seeking intervention: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, along with other opposition leaders, leaving after meeting President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday.

Seeking intervention: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, along with other opposition leaders, leaving after meeting President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

‘Govt. has no compassion as it shuts down people’s voices’

A delegation of Opposition parties, led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, petitioned President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday to advise the Union government to withdraw the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and accused the government of having no “compassion as it shuts down people’s voices”.

 

“All of us, representatives of 12 different political parties, have met the President to plead with him to intervene in the situation in the Northeast, which is now spreading throughout the country, including the capital in the Jamia university, because of the Act,” Ms. Gandhi told presspersons after handing over the memorandum, signed by leaders of 12 Opposition parties, including the CPI(M), the CPI, the DMK, the SP, the Trinamool, the RJD, the National Conference, the IUML and the AIUDF.

‘Not acceptable’

“I think you all have seen that the BJP government, that is, the Modi government seems to have no compassion when it comes to shutting down people’s voices and implement a legislation, which do not seem to be acceptable to the people and to us in a democracy,” she said. “It is a very serious situation. We fear that it may spread even further. We are anguished at the manner in which the police have dealt with peaceful demonstrations across India”.

 

The Opposition leaders urged President Kovind to intervene on the issue of violence in Central universities in his capacity as their Chancellor. The Congress chief mentioned the ‘high-handedness’ of the Delhi Police in dealing with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia.

“We have the example in Delhi, where the police entered the Jamia Millia women’s hostel and dragged women out. They mercilessly thrashed students not only here in Delhi, who were demonstrating, which is their democratic right,” Ms. Gandhi said. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the President was the custodian of the Constitution and he “cannot allow his government to violate the Constitution in this brazen manner”.

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien said,“We have asked the President to please advise the government to withdraw this diabolical, divisive Act, which will affect the poorest of the poor”.

CPI general secretary D Raja said, “The CAA is unconstitutional, and at this time when the whole country is in turmoil, the President must intervene and advise the government to withdraw it.”

Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said Opposition’s fears about the CAA being a divisive law had come true and, along with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), it had created fear in the minds of people. “The Northeast has been cut off from the rest of the country. This is what Pakistan and other neighbours want... And our government has given them an opportunity.”

Challenge to PM

Congress leader Kapil Sibal challenged the Prime Minister to have a one-on-one debate on the law in response to Mr Modi’s allegation that certain groups with vested interests were trying to create disturbance and help Pakistan. “We challenge the Prime Minister to have a debate with us. I challenge him for a one-on-one debate where we will highlight who embraced Nawaz Sharif and who released the terrorists and who wanted to be more friendly to Pakistan. It is they who have sympathies with Pakistan and accuse the Opposition,” he said.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said there were around 14 to 15 political parties which were to come but leaders of some of them could not make it.

The Bahujan Samaj Party MPs would call on the President separately on Wednesday, said its leader Danish Ali.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:45:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/opposition-urges-president-to-advise-government-to-withdraw-citizenship-amendment-act/article30332596.ece

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