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'Can't be Allowed to Divide Country': Amid Citizenship Act Protests, Modi Warns Against 'Vested Interests'

PM Modi described the violent protests on the Citizenship Amendment Act as 'unfortunate and deeply distressing'.


Updated:December 17, 2019, 12:47 PM IST
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'Can't be Allowed to Divide Country': Amid Citizenship Act Protests, Modi Warns Against 'Vested Interests'
File photo of PM Narendra Modi. (PTI)

New Delhi: As protests by students against the new citizenship law engulf various parts of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday tried to assuage concerns and said the legislation does not affect any citizen of any religion in the country.

In a series of tweets, Modi said groups with vested interests cannot be allowed to “divide and create disturbances in the country”.

"I want to unequivocally assure my fellow Indians that CAA does not affect any citizen of India of any religion. No Indian has anything to worry regarding this Act. This Act is only for those who have faced years of persecution outside and have no other place to go except India," he said.

Describing the violent protests on the Citizenship Amendment Act as "unfortunate and deeply distressing", the PM said: "Debate, discussion and dissent are essential parts of democracy but, never has damage to public property and disturbance of normal life been a part of our ethos."

The Prime Minister added that the amended Citizenship Act, passed by Parliament last week, “illustrates India’s centuries old culture of acceptance, harmony, compassion and brotherhood” as he sought to reject the criticism that the new law is discriminatory in nature.

The assurance is significant since along with the CAA, it is BJP’s another promise that has spread fear among Muslims – that of a nationwide NRC in order to identify citizens and “expel” immigrants.

The controversial CAA says that Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis and Jains from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who fled religious persecution will not be considered illegal immigrants if they have entered India on or before December 31, 2014. But Muslims have not been included in its ambit.

Modi’s statement comes after massive protests spread to university campuses all over the country.

The nationwide protests have been sparked by the police action against students of the Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, where the Vice-Chancellor said at least 200 students were injured on Sunday night after police entered the campus and allegedly assaulted them and lobbed tear gas shells inside the varsity library.

Several petitions have also been filed against the amended Citizenship Act, which the Supreme Court has said it will hear on Wednesday.

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