BJP gearing up to counter anti-citizenship law demo | The Daily Star
11:14 AM, December 22, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:20 AM, December 22, 2019

BJP gearing up to counter anti-citizenship law demo

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition parties are preparing for a fresh face-off from tomorrow on the issue of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and proposed National Register of Citizens across the country.

BJP General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav said the party would begin a ten-day mass contact programme to share details of CAA to drive home that the legislation is not against existing Indian citizens irrespective of their religions and counter the opposition campaign, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

The CAA makes it easier for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who have come to India till 2014 after facing religious “persecution” there to acquire Indian citizenship. However, the law does not include Muslims from the three countries, the correspondent said.

On the other hand, main opposition the Congress, led by party chief Sonia Gandhi, will stage a sit-in demonstration at the Rajghat, the memorial of the country’s Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, tomorrow protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act and proposed National Register of Citizens.

Yadav said the BJP would seek to reach out to three crore families by organizing rallies and media conferences across the country to “expose the lies” being spread against CAA.

The BJP’s decision to launch the campaign was taken at a meeting chaired by the party’s Working President Jagat Prakash Nadda who will kick start the drive with a rally in Kolkata tomorrow.

Yadav said the BJP will bring in the refugees who have come from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan at the rallies to share their ordeal with the people and how they stand to benefit from CAA.

He asked the Congress to explain its opposition to CAA in the light of its senior leader and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s demand made in 2003 for giving citizenship to Hindus from Bangladesh.  

Yadav said the Congress had in the past framed laws favouring minorities from the neighbouring countries taking shelter in India and is now opposing CAA.

Top Congress leaders, including its former president Rahul Gandhi and its General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, are likely to participate in the 'satyagrah dharna' from 3:00pm to 8:00pm local time.

"Senior Congress leaders will hold the sit-in at Mahatma Gandhi's samadhi at Rajghat day after tomorrow, December 23 from 3 pm to 8 pm. In line with the path of non-violence, yet consistent and unequivocal opposition shown by the Father of the Nation. The party's satyagraha will fight against this dictatorial government and to protect the sacred Constitution," Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal said on Saturday night.

The decision to hold the silent protest was taken at a meeting of top party leaders at Sonia Gandhi's residence here.

Venugopal said in a statement that there has been widespread resentment against the recent actions of the BJP government among the people across the country, especially amongst youth demanding the restoration and maintaining the sanctity of rights guaranteed by the country's constitution.

"The dictatorial and stubborn BJP government at the Centre and in different states has used indiscriminate police force against ordinary citizens in the name of maintaining law and order," he said.

This, he said, has led to further worsening of the situation.

Priyanka in a statement yesterday flayed the detention of students, journalists, intellectuals and social workers protesting CAA and NRC and accused the BJP government of using “brute force” to suppress the “voice of the people.”

The Congress party’s sit-in demonstration tomorrow could well mark the start of a fresh round of agitation by opposition parties against CAA and NRC, sources said.

Meanwhile, Congress-ruled Rajasthan has joined opposition-ruled West Bengal and Kerala in opposing the National Population Register (NPR) which was to have worked as the basis for NRC. West Bengal and Kerala have already put on hold all work relating to NPR.

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