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Tamil Nadu CM Defends Support to CAA, Says No Indian Will be Affected by It

He hit out at DMK for accusing the AIADMK of betraying Sri Lankan Tamils and sought to know why the opposition party did not get citizenship for them when it shared power at the Centre for over a decade in the past.

PTI

Updated:December 18, 2019, 9:58 PM IST
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Tamil Nadu CM Defends Support to CAA, Says No Indian Will be Affected by It
File image of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (PTI Photo)

Salem (TN): Defending ruling AIADMK's support to the amendment to the Citizenship Act in Parliament, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Wednesday asserted the law will not affect any Indian, to whichever religion one may belong.

In his first reaction to the CAA after protests by students and opposition parties against it broke out in the state, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have amply clarified that the act will not affect any Indian citizen.

He hit out at DMK for accusing the AIADMK of betraying Sri Lankan Tamils and sought to know why the opposition party did not get citizenship for them when it shared power at the Centre for over a decade in the past.

"The Citizenship Amendment Act will not impact any Indian living in India, whichever religion they may profess. They (Modi and Shah) have clarified in both Parliament and through the media..this will not affect Indians at all...," Palainiswami told reporters here.

His comments come at a time when arch-rival DMK and other opposition parties have been attacking the AIADMK for its support to the legislation in Parliament.

DMK president MK Stalin had said the amendment would not have been passed had the AIADMK not voted with the government in Rajya Sabha where it has 11 members.

"They (Modi and Shah) have clarified in both Parliament and through the media..this will not affect Indians at all...," Palaniswami said.

On the demand for Indian citizenship to Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, he said late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa had batted for granting dual citizenship to them.

In 2016, when she met Modi after the state assembly elections, she had sought from the Centre this recognition for Lankan Tamils and it continued to be the stand of the AIADMK, he said.

AIADMK members clarified this aspect when the bill was taken up in the Rajya Sabha, the chief minister added.

Palaniswami, who is the AIADMK co-coordinator, said he had renewed the representation when he called on Modi after the passing away of "Amma," (Jayalalithaa) in December 2016.

"A memorandum was also given seeking dual citizenship for Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka," he said. On Stalin's charge of betrayal of Sri Lankan Tamils, he accused him of "spreading false" information.

"Stalin is spreading falsehood. His accusation that the AIADMK betrayed Sri Lankan Tamil refugees is a bundle of lies," Palaniswami said.

Lankan refugees in 107 camps in 25 districts (59,714 in camps and 34,355 outside) and they were getting all welfare benefits, including 20 kilo free rice every month, from ration outlets like all other citizens, he said.

In 2009, when DMK was in power at both the Centre and state, 1.5 lakh Tamils were killed in Sri Lanka during the civil war in the island nation, Palaniswami said.

Hence, it had no "locus standi," to talk about the welfare of Sri Lanka Tamils, he said adding it was the DMK which betrayed them.

Accusing DMK of enacting a drama of doing good for Sri Lankan Tamils, he asked if it exerted pressure on the then Congress-led UPA at the Centre (to prevent civilians from getting killed) or staged any protest in Tamil Nadu over the issue.

The DMK remained silent then since it eyed only power and office and was not concerned about the welfare of Lankan Tamils, Palaniswami charged.

The Chief Minister asked why the DMK did not get citizenship for Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka when it shared power at the Centre for over a decade in various dispensations led by leaders, including Manmohan Singh.

Demanding an answer from Stalin for this, he said: "Though we (AIADMK) do not share power at the Centre, we have consistently fought for getting dual citizeship to Tamil refugees and will continue to do so."

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