- India is a country "open to all religions and communities": Chandra Bose
- Note of dissent as BJP on big awareness campaign on citizenship law
- BJP held a massive rally in Kolkata on Monday in support of the law
Hours after a huge BJP march on the streets of Kolkata in support of the controversial citizenship law, one of the party's top leaders in West Bengal, Chandra Kumar Bose, posted tweets questioning the act. India is a country "open to all religions and communities", asserted Mr Bose, a grand-nephew of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
"If #CAA2019 is not related to any religion why are we stating - Hindu, Sikh, Budhha, Christians, Parsis & Jains only! Why not include #Muslims as well? Let's be transparent," Mr Bose tweeted.
"Don't equate India or compare it with any other nation - as it's a nation Open to all religions and communities," he said in another tweet.
Don't equate India or compare it with any other nation- as it's a nation Open to all religions and communities— Chandra Kumar Bose (@Chandrabosebjp) December 23, 2019
As his tweets, posted last night, raised eyebrows, Chandra Bose today clarified that he believed the citizenship was "fine in principle" but needed minor modifications for the entire nation to accept the law.
"If the Citizenship Act is not based on any religion, then why are we stating that it is meant for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis and Jains? We should also include Muslims," Mr Bose told news agency ANI."
"I appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to give a clarification that this is meant for minorities who are persecuted in their home states, and it is not based on any religion. Including Muslims, would probably solve the ongoing crisis in the country."
The note of dissent comes as the BJP goes all out in a massive public awareness campaign on social media and through its cadres to reach out to the Muslim community and defend the law.
The BJP's march in Kolkata, led by working president JP Nadda in an open jeep, was meant as a "thanksgiving rally" for the citizenship law, which, the party hopes, will have a huge bearing in Bengal as lakhs of refugees, mainly Bengali Hindus from Bangladesh, can get citizenship.
There have been massive protests across the country over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act that, for the first time, makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The law aims at helping minorities from the Muslim-dominated countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.
The BJP is facing protests not just from the opposition but also from allies like the Akali Dal and Janata Dal United.
The Akali Dal had demanded that Muslims also be included in the Citizenship Act in sync with the democratic and secular principles of the country.