Addressing a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday slammed the opposition on its alleged hypocrisy over the Citizenship Amendment Act. He recalled that citizenship had been granted to refugees from Uganda and Sri Lanka in the past. Moreover, he pointed out that Congress leaders such as former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ashok Gehlot, and Tarun Gogoi had demanded citizenship for minorities.
Ravi Shankar Prasad remarked, “When the Congress does it is okay. When Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi do, it is okay. When Manmohan Singh demands, it is okay. When Ashok Gehlot and Tarun Gogoi do it, it is okay. When Narendra Modi does it or when Amit Shah does it, then it is the problem? This is double standard and hypocrisy of the worst kind.”
He added, “When President despot Idi Amin of Uganda turned out thousands of Gujaratis and Hindus from Uganda, Indira Gandhi gave them citizenship. When the Srilankan Tamil crisis was there, lakhs of Tamilian Srilankan citizens were given citizenship by India. Many of them went back. Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2003 has publicly demanded in the Rajya Sabha from the then Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani that please give them citizenship. Ashok Gehlot, the CM of Rajasthan and Tarun Gogoi, the CM of Assam have also publicly demanded.”
The Union Minister also dispelled the myths surrounding the CAA. He maintained that it was not related to any citizen irrespective of religion. Prasad clarified that the persecuted communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh would benefit from this law.
Ravi Shankar Prasad clarified, “This law in terms of constitutional requirement is binding in our country. The CAA is not related to any Indian- Muslim included, much less to any citizen. It is only and only related to persecuted communities in the three countries- Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. All these three countries are declared Islamic republics as per their Constitution and who are these communities- Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists, and Jains.”
The CAA will be applicable to the members of these communities having arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014. There have been a series of protests against this legislation across the country. Additionally, the mandatory residence period for naturalised citizenship for these communities would be reduced to 5 years.