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Citizenship Act Most Humane, Legislation Recommended by Previous Cong Govts: Subramanian Swamy

The Rajya Sabha MP said the new Act addresses the “long-term problem faced by those who left these countries which are on our borders and came here due to a special problem of being religiously persecuted.”

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Updated:December 21, 2019, 12:42 PM IST
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Citizenship Act Most Humane, Legislation Recommended by Previous Cong Govts: Subramanian Swamy
File photo of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy.

New Delhi: Amid nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said on Friday the new law is the “most humane legislation” and one which was recommended by previous Congress governments at the Centre.

“After the passage of the CAA, the country is now convinced in large numbers that the law is anti-secular and that it is targeted against Muslims. It is nothing of the kind. It is the most humane legislation you could bring in current circumstances,” he said.

Swamy, who has served as member of Planning Commission and as a Union minister, was delivering a keynote address in the 4th Justice Nagendra Singh Memorial Lecture organised by The International Goodwill Society of India in New Delhi.

He said the Act follows the sample principle as the definition of a Hindu in the Constitution of India. “Article 25 defines a Hindu: someone who’s not Muslim, Parsi or Christian. This definition is by elimination of other religions,” he said.

A number of people have been killed and about a dozen injured in anti-CAA protests across the country over the last few days. The Rajya Sabha MP said the new Act addresses the “long-term problem faced by those who left these countries which are on our borders and came here due to a special problem of being religiously persecuted.”

“This (religious persecution) is a separate category. The total number of people, who are listed as people being religiously persecuted, is only 31,313. They were declared by previous Congress governments as illegal immigrants and were given a certificate enabling them to live here as long as they wanted without being a citizen,” he said.

Hitting out at the Congress for going back on its own legislation, Swamy said, “We came to a conclusion which was recommended by previous governments. The Congress governments since 1947 had passed a resolution welcoming religiously persecuted persons to India and giving them citizenship.”

“Many leaders kept repeating the same for years. The last one to say it was Manmohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha when LK Advani was Deputy PM. He was pleading to give them citizenship. He said we should be generous about this. But, when we adopted the Bill, Singh said the opposite,” he added.

Regarding Muslims facing persecution, Swamy said, “We have no record of persecuted Muslims coming to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. We have some prominent people like Tarekh Fateh from Pakistan and Taslima (Nasrin) from Bangladesh who claimed to be persecuted and came to India, but they preferred foreign passports to ours.”

However, much of the issues stem from India’s own understanding of its Constitution, he said. “Some SC lawyers have said the CAA is against Article 14. But, the SC has made it clear on a number of occasions that this equality before law is the equality of equals and not of un-equals.”

The MP also talked about western media’s criticism on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the CAA. Calling out the New York Times, which in an editorial on Thursday called Modi a “bigot,” he said, “To call the PM a bigot without a basis, slam a legislation which was passed with the support of other parties, shows that we are targets. It shows our potential as the next super power.”

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