News

Amit Shah allays fears on Citizenship Bill

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on April 22, 2019 Published on April 22, 2019

BJP President Amit Shah addresses a press meet ahead of the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Kolkata on Monday   -  Debasish Bhaduri

‘Refugees will be granted citizenship;only infiltrators will be deported’

BJP President Amit Shah today sought to allay fears over the Citizenship Bill and National Register of Citizens. He, for the first time, spelt out a clear course for the implementation of the policies.

According to him, the Citizenship Amendment Bill will be implemented first and it will grant citizenship to persecuted minorities who came from neighbouring countries. Subsequently, the rollout of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will happen. To be rolled out all across India, the NRC will identify and deport illegal immigrants.

“The Citizenship Amendment Bill will come first, and all refugees will be given citizenship. After that, NRC will be made. Refugees, specially the religious minorities in neighbouring countries, shouldn't worry,” he said at a press meet here. Both these issues have been poll planks for the BJP in the State for some time now, and the party’s two star campaigners, Narendra Modi and Shah, have been harping on its implementation, if voted to power.

Illegal immigrants

While infiltration and immigrants are an issue in West Bengal, especially in the border districts along the Indo-Bangla border, there is also a fear about the possible misuse of the Citizenship Amendment Bill and NRC for political gains.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been a vehement critic of these policies and objected to their implementation. She referred to several instances where the names of Bengali families in Assam were deleted as she alleged the BJP to be an “anti-Bengali party”. In fact, the Trinamool Congress has been strongly opposing the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

It was in this context that Shah sought to clear the air around these two issues.

“The Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains need not worry. Only infiltrators should. We will throw these infiltrators out. The NRC will not be only for Bengal, but for the whole country,” he said.

‘Rigging prevented’

Shah also took a dig at Banerjee for her repeated criticism of the Election Commission of India (ECI). The Trinamool has been critical of the ECI since it transferred senior police officers in the State. A few day’s back, Banerjee alleged that the “BJP was trying to run a parallel government” here in Bengal.

“Did she not know how many officers were transferred in the year when she got a majority mandate (in 2011)? How many special observers were appointed then? So who was running the parallel government?” Shah countered. According to him, while elections were being held across the country, only the Trinamool is complaining . “Only the Trinamool Congress is complaining. That means the ECI is stopping her from rigging votes,” Shah claimed.

Even on Monday, a day before the third phase of polls in the State, the ECI has transferred seven police officers in West Bengal. The officers will not be involved in any election duty either.

‘No Hindu terror’

To a specific question, Shah also sought to defend the nomination of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a Malegaon blast (2008) accused and now out on bail. The Sadhvi will take on former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh of the Congress in Bhopal.

According to Shah, “Hindu terror” is a “created and fake concept”. The real accused were never brought to book, he alleged. “Fake cases were filed in the name of Hindu terror and the image of India was sullied globally. The courts have not held her guilty yet,” he said.

Published on April 22, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor