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Days after the Centre notified the Citizenship Amendment Act, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the law will never be taken back and the BJP-led government will never compromise with it. “This is our sovereign right to ensure Indian citizenship in our country. We will never compromise on it and CAA will never be taken back,” he said.

Asked about the Opposition bloc INDIA, specifically a Congress leader saying that they would repeal the law when they come to power, the Home Minister said that even the Opposition is aware it has bleak chances of coming to power.

“Even the INDI alliance knows that it will not come into power. CAA has been brought by the BJP and the Narendra Modi-led government. It is impossible to repeal it. We will spread awareness about it in the whole nation so that those who want to repeal it do not get a place,” Mr Shah said.

The Union Minister dismissed criticism that the “CAA is unconstitutional”, stating that it does not violate the constitutional provisions.

“They always talk about Article 14. They forget that there are two clauses in that Article. This law does not violate Article 14. There is a clear, reasonable classification here. This is a law for those who, due to partition, remained in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and were facing religious persecution and decided to come to India,” the Union Minister said.

Replying to the Opposition’s claim of the timing of the notification coming ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Amit Shah said, “First of all, I will talk about the timing. All opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, and Arvind Kejriwal, are doing jhooth ki rajneeti (politics of lies). So the question of timing does not arise. The BJP made it clear in its 2019 manifesto that it will bring CAA and provide Indian citizenship to refugees (from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan). It has a clear agenda and under that promise, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in both Houses of Parliament in 2019. It got delayed due to Covid. The BJP cleared its agenda well before it got its mandate in the polls.”

“Rules are now a formality. There is no question of timing, political gain, or loss. Now, the Opposition wants to consolidate their vote bank by doing appeasement politics… They have been exposed. CAA is the law for the entire country and I have reiterated nearly 41 times in four years that it will become a reality,” he said.

The Home Minister said that there is “no question of political gain as the BJP’s main aim is to provide rights and justice to persecuted minorities coming from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

“The Opposition raised questions on the surgical strikes and the abrogation of Article 370 and linked it with political gain. So should we not take stern steps against terrorism? We have been saying since 1950 that we will withdraw Article 370,” the Home Minister said.

“I have spoken on CAA at least 41 times on different platforms and spoken on it in detail that the minorities of the country need not be afraid because it has no provision to take back the rights of any citizen. The CAA aims to confer Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants – Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians – who migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and arrived in India before December 31, 2014. Through this law, their sufferings can end,” he added.

The Home Minister was critical of opposition leaders – AIMIM’s Asaddudin Owaisi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – for claiming that the CAA was anti-Muslim.

“You cannot see this law in isolation. On August 15, 1947, our country was partitioned. Our country was partitioned into three parts. Bharatiya Jan Sangh and BJP were always against the Partition. We never wanted India to be partitioned based on religion,” he said.

“So when the country was partitioned on the basis of religion, minorities faced persecution. They were being converted, women were being tortured, and they came to India. They came for refuge. Don’t they have a right to get citizenship? Even Congress leaders during the partition in their speeches said that the minorities should stay wherever they were due to the widespread bloodshed and would be welcomed later in our country. Now they have started vote bank politics,” Mr Shah added.

It was the government’s moral duty to ensure the rights of the persecuted, he said.

“The people who were part of Akhand Bharat and who were prosecuted or tortured should be given refuge in India and this is our social and Constitutional responsibility. Now if you look closely at the statistics, in Pakistan when the Partition happened, there were 23% Hindus and Sikhs but now only 3.7% of them are left. Where did they go? They have not returned here. They were converted, tortured, and insulted. They were given second-class status. Where will they go? Will the country, Parliament, and the political parties not think about them?” the Home Minister said.

“In Afghanistan, at the moment there are now only about 500 Hindus… don’t they have the right to live as per their beliefs? When Bharat was one, they were our brothers,” he added.

Slamming Arvind Kejriwal for his remarks that CAA will take away jobs meant for India’s youth, and can lead to an increase in crime, the Union Minister said that people who will benefit from the law are already in India.

“If they are so concerned why are they not talking about Bangladeshi infiltrators and Rohingyas? Because they are doing vote bank politics. Delhi elections are tough for them. That’s why they are indulging in vote bank politics” he said.

Amit Shah also questioned Mamata Banerjee for alleging that citizenship of minorities would be taken away due to the CAA.

“I am requesting Mamata ji, that there are several platforms to do politics. Please don’t harm Bengali Hindus from Bangladesh. I challenge her publicly to show one clause that has the provision of taking away citizenship of any Indian. Her intention is to create differences between Hindus and Muslims to consolidate vote bank. The CAA must be implemented. If she wants to do anything, she should stop infiltration. But she is not cooperating,” Amit Shah said.

On March 11, the Union Home Ministry notified rules for the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The CAA, introduced by the Narendra Modi government and passed by Parliament in 2019, aims to confer Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants – Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians – who migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and arrived in India before December 31, 2014.