We were under no compulsion to back Citizenship Bill, says CM

‘PM and Home Minister have made it clear that Indians will face no threat’

December 20, 2019 12:36 am | Updated 11:47 am IST - CHENNAI

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday reiterated that his party was under no compulsion to vote in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha. He insisted that the legislation will not affect Indian citizens.

Addressing the media in Delhi, he accused the Opposition parties of deliberately instigating protests on “some assumptions”.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have made it clear that CAA [Citizenship (Amendment) Act] will not pose any threat to Indians,” he said.

When it was put to him that all the Opposition parties were opposing CAA, Mr. Palaniswami said the AIADMK’s views were different from those of other parties.

“Today also, I placed my demand [for providing dual citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees] before the Prime Minister. We have provided all necessary facilities to the Sri Lankan Tamils and they are living without any difficulties,” he said.

Mr. Palaniswami said the Sri Lankan Tamils had been receiving ₹1,000 per month as assistance, after former CM Jayalalithaa decided to contribute ₹600 on behalf of the State government along with the ₹400 offered by the Centre. “We are supplying them 20 kg of rice per month and extending [to them] all the welfare measures available to the people of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

The Chief Minister made light of the protests against CAA in Tamil Nadu, saying there were “incidents in a few places”.

“There have been no major problems since the protesters dispersed after expressing their opposition to CAA. In a democratic country, they have the right to express their views,” the CM added.

When asked about similar protests in other States, he said that if non-violent protests were organised in a democratic manner, there wouldn’t be any problems. “It is the duty of a State government to maintain law and order,” he said.

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