Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said a section of the youth was being misguided about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and asserted that it would not take away anybody’s citizenship.
“We must all know that any person of any religion from any country of the world, theist or atheist, who believes in India and its Constitution, can apply for Indian citizenship through due process. There’s no problem in that,” he told the gathering at Belur Math.
The PM said the dispute that had arisen over CAA had made the world aware of persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan. “Our initiative to amend Citizenship Act has created a dispute. It is the result of our initiative that Pakistan will now have to answer why they have been persecuting minorities for the last 70 years. Human rights have been demolished in Pakistan,” he said, adding some people with political interests were spreading rumours about the new citizenship law.
A day after meeting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the PM attacked her, saying the state was unwilling to implement central schemes since these didn’t benefit ‘syndicates’ or involve ‘cut money’.
He said schemes such as Ayushman Bharat and the PM-Kisan Samman had benefited people at large, with Rs 43,000 crore transferred directly to cultivators. “I don’t know if these will be allowed here (West Bengal) but if it does, it will benefit people.” He added: “May God give good wisdom to the policymakers (of West Bengal). I want people to get benefited from these schemes and I understand people’s temper too well. I have a feeling that no one will be able to stop the people from enjoying these schemes.”
A ‘cut’ money scandal was exposed in the state last year and Banerjee had ordered those indicted to return the money.
Modi and Banerjee have been at loggerheads since the 2019 general election and the West Bengal chief minister has been a vocal critic of the central government policies, particularly the CAA enacted by Parliament. Modi, on the other hand, has repeatedly attacked Banerjee, alleging her involvement in corruption and the infamous syndicates, and law and order in the state. On Saturday, the two had held a meeting in Kolkata before the Banerjee joined protests over the CAA and NRC. She, however, gave the 150-year celebration of Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) on Sunday a miss.
Modi renamed KoPT after Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee, drawing criticism from the Opposition camp, which said he was more of a “name-changer” than a “game-changer”.
Black flags and shouts of 'Go Back Modi' greeted the PM as he arrived and left the city.