India File

Students not branded anti-nationals, facts twisted about CAA, says Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

Poornima Joshi | Updated on December 31, 2019 Published on December 31, 2019

Lies are being spread by the bogus brigade of vested interests, says Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

No one in the Government has branded students as anti-nationals, facts are being twisted about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, tells BusinessLine. Excerpts from an interview:

While the protests are still going on against CAA, why has the Government pushed the National Population Register (NPR) to create further confusion? You seem to be bent on alienating the Muslims.

The NPR has nothing to do with any controversy nor is it linked in any way to the National Register of Citizens (NRC). It is conducted every ten years since 1951 to 1961, 1971, 1981, 2001 and 2011. Dr Manmohan Singh’s government started the process of digitisation. In fact, it has been delayed this time.

The reality is that the CAA issue has been completely twisted to create fear among the Muslims. This has been done by vested interests for their political benefits. Muslims in India have Constitutional rights. They are here not because they are forced to be here but because they choose to be here and they are organically connected to this country. They are being provoked with false propaganda.

Ours is a Government led by a Prime Minister who has disbursed welfare schemes with the largest share of Muslim beneficiaries, whether it is 8 crore LPG cylinders or affordable housing to 1.5 crore people. No paper or certificate was required and everyone, including the Muslims, got their fair share. It is absolutely wrong to brand us anti-Muslim.

There are, even according to official statistics, 19 deaths in Uttar Pradesh since the protests over police action in Jamia Millia Islamia started. There are videos of policemen threatening unarmed protestors, ransacking their homes. You hail from UP, what do you have to say about the behaviour of the state administration and the averments of the Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, who has reportedly been threatening protesters?

What has happened in UP is unfortunate. No innocent should have been killed. I am not justifying innocent deaths. But again, I would urge you to consider that there are vested political interests provoking people. There is 100 per cent misinformation being spread about CAA to provoke people. The administration has to restore normalcy. Our priority is that peace and normalcy should be restored.

Do you not agree that there should be a judicial probe into police excesses in UP? What do you have to say about the Chief Minister reportedly asking the police to crack down on peaceful protesters?

I have no comments to make on the CM. Violence is not acceptable, whether it is from the crowds or from the police. There has been damage to public property in UP. I am not justifying anything but the priority has to be to restore peace.

After the police action on Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, students in almost all major universities have come out to protest and all you have done is to brand them anti-national, urban naxal, etc. Don’t you think this attitude will agitate the young people even more?

A lot of us have come out of student movements and no one in this Government will brand the students as anti-nationals. No one has done that. One may venture to say that they have been misguided. But how can you say we have called them urban naxals? The term urban naxals has not been used against students. Such lies are being spread by the bogus brigade of vested interest. But the truth will finally prevail. The understanding that the CAA has nothing to do with Muslims has already dawned.

What happened in Jamia was the final straw against Muslims, from Article 370 to Ram temple judgement, CAA and now these attacks…

There was no anger or resentment among the Muslims on either the Ayodhya judgement or Article 370. No one from the community, barring a few usual suspects, said anything. Such links are being made by the bogus brigade to create rifts in society.

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Published on December 31, 2019
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