As it prepares for a nationwide outreach campaign to counter protests over CAA, BJP on Monday said it considers the newly enacted law as part of the freedom movement and accused the opposition of indulging in political opportunism and fear psychosis to consolidate its vote bank.
Terming the new legislation as one which gives 'justice' to persecuted minorities in the neighborhood, the ruling party said the law was not for Indian citizens, but for those who came to India after facing religious persecution.
"We consider the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as part of the freedom movement in India, because the freedom movement had certain aspects unfinished.
One of them was implementation of the Nehru-Liaquat Ali pact 1950, where it was guaranteed that both India and Pakistan will provide security to all minorities,"BJP national Vice-President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe told reporters here.
Since Pakistan had not kept its word, India need to to enact some amendments in its established Citizenship Act, which has now been completed, he said.
"This is a legislation to widen the scope of citizenship of India to include many more people and certainly not to exclude any.
The act doesn't exclude anybody. It includes all those who are persecuted on religious grounds," he added.
BJP on Monday organised workshops at several places in the country for itsmediapersons, editors of its journals in various state languages and select leaders on "public awakening" about the Citizenship Amended Act.
A workshop for the Southern Region held here was attended by about 60 delegates from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Karnataka and two union territories of Pondicherry and Lakshadweep.
The BJP also distributed a document to participants,,giving a historical perspective on the genesis of the problem, how it was dealt with, how the position of political parties had changed over the years, to provide inputs to them during the outreach.
BJP National Spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said for BJP it is India first and it does not see such long standing issues with a political lens, while for Congress and other "so called secular parties", who are actually "pseudo-secular"- it is vote bank and politics first.
Accusing opposition parties of hypocrisy,he said they are indulging in cynical politics, while their leaders like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi of Congress and Left leader Prakash Karat, among others,have spoken in favour of providing citizenship to religious minorities from neighbouring countries in the past.
"This act has nothing to do with the citizens of India, but there is an attempt by various political parties and vested interests to create a fear psychosis among the minorities of India, to be specific, among Muslims....
The act is aimed at those who have migrated from other countries. They will now get citizenship in the name of humanity," he added.
Violence has been reported from various parts of the country during protests against the CAA, which was passed by Parliament and given assent by the President last week.
Terming the violent protests as "sporadic incidents", Rao blamed opposition parties for it and accused them of indulging in unnecessary fear mongering with a political motive.
Also pointing out that some exemptions have been provided for the North-East under CAA, due to the existing local situation there, he said "there is going to be a dialogue and government will look into the concerns expressed....
Violence is not something this government is going to accept.
It will be dealt in the manner it has be dealt with."
Hitting out at opposition parties, Rao said, "It looks like the Congress, communists and other so called secular parties seem to be having some kind of coalition of interest with political parties in Pakistan.
What Rahul Gandhi speaks is exactly the language that Imran Khan (Pakistan PM) speaks in Pakistan."
He also called Rahul "fake Gandhi" and said "the name- Rahul Jinnah (after Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah) was appropriate for him and his family and their style of politics, which is minority appeasement."
According to the act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The act says refugees of the six communities will be given Indian citizenship after residing in India for five years, instead of 11 years earlier.
Terming as 'political posturing', the stand of some state governments that they would not implement CAA, Rao said citizenship is a central subject and Parliament has the exclusive power to frame laws on it.
"It is not a choice for states on whether to implement or not,it is their obligation to implement," he said.