Home Minister Amit Shah dared the Opposition on Tuesday to prove that the amended Citizenship Act stripped Indians of citizenship, as he spoke at a Lucknow event held to gather support for the controversial law.
For weeks now, demonstrators across India have taken to the streets to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (often known simply as CAA) and the idea of a countrywide citizens register (the NRC), an idea that the government publicly floated before backtracking recently.
Faced with a backlash whose scale its leaders didn’t anticipate, the BJP has launched an outreach campaign.
At the Lucknow event, Amit Shah tore into the BJP’s rivals for opposing the CAA — he specifically named Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati and Communist parties — and challenged the Opposition to an open debate.
Opponents of the CAA feel it deliberately excludes Muslims while offering fast-track citizenship for Pakistani, Afghan and Bangladeshi illegal immigrants from six minority religious groups, including Hindus — provided they entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
Former Home Minister P Chidambaram recently said that the CAA and the NRC citizenship verification drive were like “Siamese twins” whose “net effect” would exclude Muslims.
Besides speaking about the citizenship law, Amit Shah said in Lucknow that work on building a Ram temple in Ayodhya would begin in three months.