Addressing the centenary celebration of Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam, a Tamil monthly magazine, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday asserted that respect for all religions was rooted in Indian blood. Moreover, he stressed that secularism did not entail the insult or appeasement of any religion. Maintaining that India had always given shelter to persecuted persons, Naidu claimed that some individuals were trying to create controversy at this juncture.
His statement assumes importance in the wake of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The Vice President also indirect took a dig at the opposition by stating that some people had an “allergy” with the word Hindu. He pointed out that even before secularism became a part of the Indian constitution, it was ingrained in the Indian ethos. While conceding that people had a right to hold a negative view about the word ‘Hindu’, he opined that it was not the correct way of looking at Indian tradition and culture.
Venkaiah Naidu remarked, “Some people in this country have an allergy towards this word ‘Hindu’, we cannot help them. And they have got every right to have that view. But they are not right. Let me put the record straight. Understand what is culture and tradition. Religion is a way of worship. You worship in any way. No problem. But culture is the essence of our life- that is what is important.”
The CAA seeks to provide citizenship to the minority communities namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This will be applicable to the members of these communities having arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014. Moreover, they will not be considered as illegal migrants. Additionally, the mandatory residence period for naturalised citizenship for these communities would be reduced to 5 years. The opposition contends that the Bill discriminates on the basis of religion, which might go against Article 14, which guarantees the right to equality.