Editorial: Making it clear

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday sought to assuage concerns of Muslims over the amended citizenship law and the NRC, saying both have nothing to do with Indian citizens and slammed his rivals for “inciting” people and trying to divide the country in their bid to target him.

Putting up a strong defence of the contentious law, he said at a rally in the national capital that it is about giving rights to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries and does not snatch anybody’s rights. Launching a scathing attack on opposition parties like the Congress, AAP, TMC and the Left over their protests against the law, he said India had an opportunity to expose Pakistan over its discrimination against minorities but it was lost due to their politics.

Modi devoted a considerable part of his nearly 100-minute speech, which he started with the slogan of “vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta” (Unity in diversity is India’s speciality), to allay concerns of Muslims and said they should look at his “track record” and not listen to “tape record” of his rivals. He cited his development schemes like giving LPG cylinders to the poor and health insurance scheme to assert that it has never mattered to his government whether people go to temple or mosque. “The citizenship law or the NRC have nothing to do with Indian Muslims. They have nothing to worry,” he said, accusing the Congress, its allies and ‘urban naxals’ of spreading the rumour that Muslims will be sent to detention centres.

The citizenship law, he added, has in fact nothing to do Indian citizens. In a clear justification of having a nationwide National Register of Citizens, he said infiltrators never ‘reveal’ themselves unlike refugees who never “hide” their identities. He dared his rivals to find anything discriminatory in his work and alleged that they have resorted to dividing the country through their “vote bank politics, lies and rumours” after being unable to challenge him politically.

Modi said lies were being spread about the NRC and asserted that the previous Congress governments had mooted it. His government has not discussed it so far either in Parliament or in Cabinet, he added. Speaking strongly against violence during the recent protests against CAA, he attacked the opposition for not making any appeal for peace and said their ‘silence’ showed their indirect support to vandalism targeting school buses and trains. Now, the opposition should explain as to how CAA would affect Indian Muslims.

NT Bureau