Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters should raise their voice against Pakistan instead of the protesting “against the parliament of India” as demonstrations across the country intensify. At least 25 people have died and thousands of others have been injured as people across the country took to the streets to protests against the controversial law.
Defending the amended citizenship law, PM Modi said it is India’s “cultural and national responsibility” to give refuge to Pakistan’s minorities who’ve escaped religious persecution. “Pakistan as a nation was born on the basis of religion, and India was divided in the name of religion… Whether it is Hindu or Sikh or Christian or Jain, atrocities have increased against them in Pakistan with time. Thousands of such people had to leave their houses had to come to India as refugees,” PM Modi said at a rally in Karnataka.
“Today, there is a need is to expose Pakistan at the international level. If you have to protest, protest against Pakistan’s actions of the last 70 years. If you want to shout slogans, shout against the way in which atrocities are happening against minorities there; if you want to hold rallies, hold it in favour of dalits and downtrodden who have come from Pakistan (to India),” he said.
The prime minister also accused the Congress and its allies of rallying against the minorities of Pakistan who have sought refuge in India.
“The hatred they (Congress and its allies) have for us can now be seen against the country’s parliament. They have started a movement against the Parliament of India. These people are agitating against the Dalits, persecuted minorities from Pakistan,” the prime minister said on Thursday.
PM Modi’s latest attack against the opposition comes days after his rally in Delhi where he accused his critics of upset with his return to power. “Why is this conspiracy to shame India internationally going on? And I want to say if you don’t like it, then abuse Modi and hate Modi,” he had said.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, for the first time, makes religion a test of citizenship in India. The government says it fast-tracks naturalisation of minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries; Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Critics, however, say the law is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.