Queried about Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel's opposition to the National Register of Citizens exercise and CAA, Gangwar said the former should speak "while keeping in mind the federal character of the country".
Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar on Sunday said the Citizenship Amendment Act was not meant to “harass” any community but to help persecuted minorities of three neighbouring states get citizenship of India. Addressing a press conference here at the BJP’s Ekatma Parisar office on CAA, he said vested interests were trying to mislead people over the law.
At the same function, former chief minister Raman Singh cited the ordeal of Pakistan’s first law minister, Jogendra Nath Mandal, to drum up support for the CAA. “I belong to Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. Deoband and Bareilly are two places of Islamic thought in UP. You must not have seen reports of any adverse situation from Bareilly on the issue of CAA,” Gangwar said. “However, a large number of people from the Muslim community handed over a memorandum in this connection there. I spoke to people there and we succeeded in convincing them (to support the Act).
There were apprehensions but we cleared it,” the minister said. He said the move to grant citizenship to persecuted minorities of the neighbouring states should have been done long ago, “just after Independence”, but vested interests raised a hue and cry in protest. “Only in some universities an atmosphere (against CAA and National Register of Citizens) is being created. There are about 250 universities in the country, and only 11 complained about it (CAA and NRC). And only in four of 11 universities, the issue was raised (through protests),” he said. “The CAA is not to harass any community. It is meant to grant citizenship, not snatch it,” he said. Gangwar said the population of minorities in Pakistan was dwindling due to atrocities and it was obvious India was the only nation capable of giving such people shelter. On questions of persecuted Muslims not being included in the CAA, Gangwar said, “It is because Muslims are not minorities there (in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh).”
According to CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 facing religious persecution will not be treated as illegal immigrants but be given Indian citizenship. Queried about Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s opposition to the National Register of Citizens exercise and CAA, Gangwar said the former should speak “while keeping in mind the federal character of the country”.
Speaking on the occasion, former CM Raman Singh cited the example of a former Pakistan minister to underline the need and importance of CAA. “Jogendra Nath Mandal, the first law minister of Pakistan, had to resign when he raised issues of atrocities on minorities in that country. He had to leave Pakistan and take shelter in a refugee camp in West Bengal where he died,” Singh said.