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You don’t need CAA to grant citizenship, says Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot. File photo   | Photo Credit: Rohit Jain Paras

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that opponents of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are against offering refuge to victims of persecution in neighbouring counties is a “willful misrepresentation of facts and plot to polarise the country,” says Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

The Prime Minister has said opponents of the CAA are misinformed as it only grants, does not take away citizenship.

Nobody is opposed to citizenship to persecuted people. Far from giving any relief to the these poor and harassed people, the intent of the CAA is to aggravate communal tension in India. Thousands of them are in Rajasthan. If they are so concerned about these refugees, why didn’t Amit Shah grant citizenship for them when he came to Jodhpur recently? To give them citizenship you did not even need the CAA. They are only interested in building a fake narrative that they are the custodians Hindu rights. The PM’s statement is aimed at communal polarisation. This is dangerous for the country.

A letter than you had written in 2009 to the then Home Minister about HIndu and Sikh refugees in Rajasthan is being cited to justify CAA.

How can you have it both ways? Are we then opposed to citizenship to refugees? The letter itself is proof that Mr. Modi’s statement is incorrect. I stand by my letter in 2009. Let me reiterate that I am all for giving them citizenship. The question is not that. The question is why this divisive propaganda, why this polarising diatribe? Why are they misrepresenting my position? Between 2016 and 19, 1,750 refugees from Pakistan have been given citizenship in Rajasthan. Of this, 1,180-odd were granted citizenship in the last one year, after our government came to power. As of today there are 17,574 refugees from Pakistan residing in Rajasthan. Of them, 331 are Muslims.

Doesn’t that letter undermine your position on CAA?

Not at all. On the contrary, it undermines the BJP position that we are opposed to citizenship to victims of persecution. That letter was raising an administrative issue with the Centre. The opposition to the CAA is about a discriminatory law. What about persecuted people in other countries and other sects, religions and non-believers? What about Tamils from Sri Lanka? What about Amhadiyas? Rohingya? Tibetan Buddhists?

The BJP says it has the mandate.

I have spoken to 10 Chief Ministers on this issue. Not only parties opposed to the BJP, but also its allies such as the JD(U) and its leader, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are calling for a rethink. The JD(U) had supported the bill in Parliament. The BJP had got 37% votes and 63% of voters were against them. Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar, Pinarayi Vijayan, Uddhav Thackeray and all CMs opposed to the CAA have won elections. This arrogance that they had the mandate to implement such a divisive law is bad for the country. Modiji must stop this obstinacy, see reason and withdraw the law.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 3:01:49 AM |

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