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P Chidambaram on CAA: India's goodwill destroyed by malicious act

News Agencies | Updated on: 8 February 2020, 11:15 IST

Terming the Citizenship Amendment Act a "malicious and mischievous" law, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said on Friday that people across the world are questioning India's commitment towards being a democratic nation. He also described the National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) as "mischievous and dangerous".

"We are opposing the Act on the basis of constitutional morality and constitutional legality. Right now, the ball is in the Supreme Court and we are confident that it will strike down the law and redeem the honour of the people of India," the former Union finance minister said during a lecture in Pune.

"Worldwide, India's stock has plummeted... All over the world people are questioning India's commitment to be a democratic country. All the goodwill that was built over the last 40 years has been destroyed by this one mischievous and malicious Act and this must go," Mr Chidambaram said.

He also asserted that the Citizenship Amendment Act was a "reaction to the fiasco that happened in Assam with regards to the NRC".

"After spending Rs 1,400 crore for the NRC exercise, 40 lakh people were labelled stateless -- not once but twice. Revised exercise rendered 19 lakh people stateless. When the people of Assam rejected it, the government suddenly thought that something should be done and they brought this CAA," Mr Chidambaram said.

The former Union minister said a "propaganda is being spread" that the Congress is opposing citizenship given to the persecuted Hindus from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

"We are just asking if persecuted Hindu minorities from these three countries are allowed, why aren't Tamils and Hindus from Sri Lanka and Burma and Buddhist from Nepal and Bhutan allowed," he said and also sought to know why Muslims were excluded from the ambit of the law.

"According to the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the most persecuted community in the world is Rohingya in Myanmar," Mr Chidambaram said.

Mr Chidambaram said the Congress is not against giving citizenship to persecuted refugees. "We are not against those who are included in the Act. We have a problem with who has been excluded... Include the muslims also, include all the persecuted communities. But it clearly shows the bias that the government has against the Muslims," he said.


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First published: 8 February 2020, 10:59 IST