Citing the BJP’s brute majority in Parliament, Chidambaram asked what was the guarantee that the government would not bring in an amendment, similar to the CAA, to give a push to its idea of a “Hindu” country.
Chennai: Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the CAA, NRC and NPR, telling him to ask visiting US President Donald Trump if it was possible to extradite as many as 19 lakh people from Assam.
Addressing a meet here against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the former Union minister, citing the BJP’s brute majority in Parliament, asked what was the guarantee that the government would not bring in an amendment, similar to the CAA, to give a push to its idea of a “Hindu” country.
“US President Donald Trump has said that he will ask questions about the CAA even before his arrival. If six to 10 lakh people are going to be affected, will the visiting leader go without posing questions?,” he asked.
The European Parliament, UNHRC and a United States panel on religious freedom were all asking questions, calling upon the government to give up the contentious law. “We know who will be affected. The government is hiding that. The world (countries) is not a fool; it is awake that this will bring a huge threat to Muslims on the basis of their religion,” he said, adding most countries have started asking questions.
The CAA was “a tool” evolved to retain 12 lakh Hindus and send out seven lakh Muslims in Assam, he alleged. While there are countries which have stopped illegal immigration, there was no country that extradited as many as 19 lakh people, he said.
“Which country has extradited 19 lakh people? If Narendra Modi has any doubt, he can ask American President Donald Trump and he will answer,” he said.
He asked if the US president, who had all along talked about sending back those from Mexico, was successful. “Where to send 19 lakh people? Which country is ready to accept them? Through which mode of transport will you send them?” he asked.
Tracing the background to the NRC, beginning with the Assam accord, to determine foreigners, he said his party had cautioned — as early as when the survey was mooted — that it would lead to social discord.
While 40 lakh people were identified as foreigners in the exercise initially, a review pegged it at 19,06,657, he said.
As soon as it came to be known that 12 lakh of them were Hindus and seven lakh Muslims, the Centre found itself in a quandary as all of them had to be sent out of the country.
“The NRC in Assam is a very big failure,” he said. To overcome the “predicament” of 12 lakh Hindus, the government came up with the CAA, he said.
Alleging that the government was lying about the law, he said the ministers too were lying. “A big lie is that the law (CAA) will not affect people who are in India. Will those in Africa will be affected,?” he asked sarcastically.
The CAA wants to send only Muslims out of the country while allowing others to stay put and the law has been challenged on grounds, including religious discrimination, in the Supreme Court, he said.
If the BJP-led Centre could bring the CAA, which was tantamount to impinging on the basic features of the Constitution, there was no guarantee that the government will not bring other amendments, he said.
“Why will you not bring other amendments tomorrow? What is the confidence that you will not declare (India) a Hindu country in view of the brute majority?,” he asked.
The RSS and BJP were spreading “venomous views” that those belonging to the same ‘gotra’ should not get married. “What is the confidence that this will not become a law (forbidding same gotra marriages),?” he asked.
“Mischievous” questions have been included in NPR like place of birth of parents, their birth dates, mother tongue, Aadhar card, driving licence, Permanent Account Number and passport.
“Why are you asking these questions?,” he said, adding this was an effort to identify people as foreigners through their parents if they cannot be directly named as such.
“That is why there is a scare among the people. The NPR exercise should be given up completely and this is our demand. NPR is not necessary. Ask questions in the Census. The NRC drive must not be done at all and should be given up completely and instead, a census should be undertaken,” Chidambaram said.
The senior leader demanded that the government rescind the CAA. “Otherwise the Supreme Court should declare it as null and void.”
The Constitution, he said, does not allow discrimination on the basis of religion and citizenship is based on the principle of territory and not religion.
Countering a claim against protests while the matter is pending in the apex court, he wondered whether agitations were not held while the Ayodhya case was pending in the top court.