"I want to clearly state that with the Citizenship act coming, there will be no impact on any citizen of India of any faith. Citizenship act does not affect any Indian, it doesn't harm minority interests"
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a scathing attack on the Congress, making references to Jawaharlal Nehru, Partition, the 1975 Emergency and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Rebutting allegations of discriminating against minorities in connection with the controversial citizenship law, PM Modi also accused the Congress and the left of inciting protests and asserted that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act would not impact any Indian citizen or harm minority interests, reports NDTV.
The PM went on to a detailed account of Jawaharlal Nehru's policies on minorities in Pakistan after the Partition.
"For someone's aspiration to become the Prime Minister of India, a line was drawn on the map and India was divided into two. After the Partition, the way how Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities were persecuted is unimaginable," PM Modi said, replying to a debate on the President's speech.
He said in 1950, when the Nehru-Liaquat Ali pact was signed, it said that minorities won't be discriminated against in Pakistan. "A big, secular person like Nehru, a big visionary; and everything to you, why did he not use all citizens and not minorities? There must have been some reason," he taunted the Congress.
The pact between Nehru and Pakistan Prime Minister Liaquat Ali was signed in the backdrop of large-scale migration of people belonging to minority communities between the two countries after Partition.
"Why did Nehru use minorities? He replied to this too, and I'd know you'd abandon him too, whenever the need arises. Nehru had written to Assam Chief Minister and I quote - 'You'd have to differentiate between Hindu refugees and Muslim migrants'. This is what Nehru wrote to Assam Chief Minister. Nehru in this parliament, in 1950, said that 'there is no doubt that the affected people who have come to settle in India deserve citizenship and if the law isn't suitable then it should be modified'. In 1953, in the Lok Sabha, Nehru said 'in East Pakistan, authorities are pressurizing Hindus. There are documents and reports. In all these instances, was Nehru communal? I want to know? Did he discriminate between Hindus and Muslims? Did he want a Hindu nation," he asked.
"I want to clearly state that with the Citizenship act coming, there will be no impact on any citizen of India of any faith. Citizenship act does not affect any Indian, it doesn't harm minority interests," he said in his more than 90-minute long reply.
The prime minister said much had been said about the Citizenship act and by those "who love getting photographed with the group of people who want "tukde tukde" of India."
Hinting at the Congress, he said: "Those who have been removed from office by the people of India are now doing the unthinkable. They see citizens on the basis of their faith. We are different. We see everyone as Indian."
Referring to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and allegations against him linked to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots after Indira Gandhi's assassination, PM Modi said: "Does a party that keeps talking about secularism not remember 1984 and the anti-Sikh violence? It was shameful. In addition, they did not make efforts to punish the guilty. A person who was associated with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots was made chief minister."
The Congress must say "Save the Confidence" 100 times a day, said the Prime Minister, referring to the party's Citizenship act attacks. "There has been the talk of ''Save Constitution''. I agree Congress should say this 100 times in a day. Maybe they will realise their past mistakes. Did you forget this slogan during the emergency? When state governments were dismissed? When cabinet resolutions were torn? Who brought 'remote control governance' through the National Advisory Council (NAC), which had a bigger role than the position of the PM and the PM's Office?"