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Nehru and Indira Gandhi Had also Taken Steps to Protect Refugees, Says Union Minister

Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank at IIT Bombay on Saturday. (Image: Twitter/@DrRPNishank)

Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank at IIT Bombay on Saturday. (Image: Twitter/@DrRPNishank)

Owing to India's liberal character, it has set an example for the world, and population of the minority Muslim community has increased from "nine per cent something to 14 per cent".

Bhopal: Former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi too had taken steps to protect the refugees who came to India to escape religious persecution, Union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank claimed on Friday.

Owing to India's liberal character, it has set an example for the world, and population of the minority Muslim community has increased from "nine per cent something to 14 per cent", he said.

Speaking to reporters here, the minister for Human Resource Development expressed hope that Congress-ruled states will not oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

"Nehru-ji had also done it. Indira-ji followed Nehru. The Nehru-Liyakat agreement of 1950 was for the protection of minorities in their respective countries (India and Pakistan)," he said.

Asked about the refusal of Congress-led state governments to implement the CAA, the BJP leader said he hoped they will change their mind.

"Nehru-ji had brought the (original) law. Indira-ji brought such laws (to protect refugees from neighbouring countries). The people who have come here under such circumstances (after facing persecution) will question them.

And I don't think they will politicise it. There was a need for this law and the historic work was done under (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi's leadership."

The CAA was a demand of the country for a long time to provide protection to the religious minorities who were facing atrocities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, the minister said.

The population of minorities in Pakistan has dwindled to one percent from 23 per cent in 1947; while in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), it was 22 per cent in 1947 which was reduced to 7.8 per cent by 2011, he claimed.

On the other hand, the "liberal character" of India has been an example for the world, and "that was why the minorities, Muslim population in India, which must have been nine percent something at that time, has now reached 14 per cent," he added.

first published:December 27, 2019, 22:52 IST