Centre must talk to states to clear CAA, NPR doubts: RSS
The CAA’s passage in December to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims, who have entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh before December 31, 2014, triggered protests across the country.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi on Monday blamed “a section of leaders for misleading the masses” during the nationwide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). He said the Centre must speak to states to clear their doubts over the CAA, the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as they are in national interest.
Joshi’s statement came on a day when the Telangana assembly passed a resolution opposing the CAA, NPR, and NRC. Earlier, seven other state assemblies have also passed similar resolutions.
The CAA’s passage in December to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims, who have entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh before December 31, 2014, triggered protests across the country. Opponents of the law insist it is discriminatory and unconstitutional as it leaves out the Muslims and links faith to citizenship in a secular country. They say it could result in the expulsion or detentions of the Muslims unable to provide the documentation if the law is seen in the context of a proposed pan-India NRC. A process carried out in Assam to detect undocumented immigrants led to the exclusion of around two million people from the NRC in 2018.
The NPR is a comprehensive biometric database of all “usual residents” in India. It has generated controversy with the Opposition parties contending the exercise is linked to the NRC aimed at identifying undocumented immigrants. The government has in the past described the NPR as the first step towards a nationwide NRC. Now, it maintains that there is no link between the two, and that an all-India NRC is not on the anvil anytime soon.
“Many leaders have tried to create confusion. The Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] and Union home minister [Amit Shah] have made appeals on several occasions to people to understand the Act. But those who want chaos are trying to mislead people,” Joshi said at a press conference in Bengaluru.
The RSS, which cancelled the meeting of its highest decision-making body, the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, separately passed three resolutions hailing the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution that gave Jammu & Kashmir a special status, the resolution of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute and the CAA’s passage.
The RSS called the CAA as the nation’s “moral and constitutional obligation” and congratulated Parliament and the government for bringing the legislation. In a separate resolution, it welcomed the nullification of Article 370 and the decision to reorganise Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories. The RSS congratulated the government and all the political parties, which supported “this bold and historic decision and displayed a sense of maturity in national interest”.
A third resolution referred to the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya as a symbol of “national pride”. It said: “...the verdict of the Supreme Court on November 9, 2019, in the Ram Janmasthan issue is a momentous verdict in the judicial history.”