New citizenship law insult to Savarkar’s views, says Uddhav Thackeray

PTI Nagpur | Updated on December 15, 2019

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray addresses a press conference on the eve of sWinter Session of Maharashtra Assembly, in Nagpur, Sunday, December 15, 2019.   -  PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray criticised former ally BJP over allowing persecuted minorities into India under the new citizenship law, saying it is an “insult” to VD Savarkar, who sought to bring land from the Sindhu river to Kanyakumari under “one country”.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of the winter session of the state legislature, Uddhav Thackeray said that issues like Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) were being raised to “divert attention” of the people from real issues like “lack of security to women, unemployment and a farm crisis”.

He said the CAA is against the principles of Savarkar, a proponent of Hindu rashtravad (nationalism) who is revered by the Sangh Parivar. “Savarkar had demanded bringing land from the Sindhu river to Kanyakumari under one country. Instead of doing that, the BJP-led Central government is simply accepting persecuted minorities into India by defying Savarkar, which is an insult to him,” said Thackeray who heads the Shiv Sena.

The Sindhu or Indus river, which originates in the Tibetan Plateau, runs a course through Ladakh towards the Gilgit-Baltistan region in the Hindu Kush ranges, and then flows in a southerly direction along the entire length of Pakistan to merge into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi.

He asked: “Is the CAA based on ideology? What about violence which erupted over it? The CAA is against the views of Savarkar...Instead of trying to corner the Shiv Sena, why is the BJP not aggressive on Savarkar like it is on the citizenship law?”

The Maharashtra Chief Minister said the Shiv Sena’s stand on Savarkar remains unchanged. A day earlier the party had reacted strongly to Rahul Gandhi’s barb against Savarkar. Addressing a Congress rally in Delhi on Saturday, Rahul had rejected the BJP’s demand for an apology over his “rape in India” barb, and added that his name was Rahul Gandhi, not “Rahul Savarkar”, and he will never apologise for speaking the truth.

Implementing the Act

When asked about implementation of the CAA in Maharashtra, Thackeray said that will be dependent upon the ruling of the Supreme Court. “We are checking legality of the new law. Some people have challenged the CAA in the Supreme Court. We are waiting to find out whether the new act fits the framework of Constitution or not,” he said. “Our queries on the new law still remain unanswered. We will decide (whether to implement the CAA or not) on the decision of the court,” Thackeray added.

Non-BJP ruled states like Kerala, West Bengal and Punjab have decided against implementing the CAA.

Last week, the Shiv Sena had voted in favour of the new law in the Lok Sabha. However, the party later did an about turn and walked out from the Rajya Sabha, apparently after the ruling ally Congress expressed displeasure over the Sena’s stand in the Lower House.

‘Atmosphere of fear’

Thackeray said the BJP-led Central government has created an “atmosphere of fear” in the country in the name of persecuted minorities who will be granted Indian citizenship under the new law, and has put the real issue aside.

As per the amended citizenship law, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants, but given Indian citizenship.

The passing of new law has stirred protests in Assam, West Bengal, Delhi and other parts of the country. “If minorities were being persecuted in those neighbouring countries, the Central government should have asked those countries why so-called atrocities committed were against them,” he said.

Published on December 15, 2019

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