Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Saturday took a veiled dig at Congress over its opposition to Citizenship Amendment Act, saying Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru had made promises to those who were in minority in Pakistan and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had sought rights for refugees who had come to India.
Tearing into the Congress's claims that the amended Citizenship Act was discriminatory to a community, Mr Khan said the Act fulfills the promise the then Congress leaders had made to non-Muslims, who were left behind in Pakistan after Partition.
"This Act is about the promises made in 1947 by our national leaders. Pt Nehru and Gandhi could not promise citizenship to those who went to the country that was formed on religious lines. But they did make a promise to those who were in minority in Pakistan," said the Kerala governor.
"Mahatma Gandhi on July 7, 1947 said that Hindus and Sikhs living in Pakistan have a right to come here if they do not want to live there. The government of India is bound to provide them employment, citizenship and comfortable life," he said.
"People in western Pakistan are militant in nature. Even if Hindus want to live here, they will not be able to survive. They would flee from here," Mr Khan said referring to remarks of Maulana Azad.
Mr Khan said Jawaharlal Nehru had also spoken about India's commitment to take care of those who had left during partition but were keen to come to India.
"Nehru said so because there was an objective. These people never demanded partition, they are victims of partition," he added.
The Governor further cited Ashok Gehlot's letter to Congress leader P Chidambaram where the Chief Minister narrated the plight of Hindus and Sikhs, who had escaped from Pakistan and took refuge in India and demanded citizenship for them.
Targeting the Opposition on the issue of NRC, Mr Khan said these protests are not against CAA or NRC. "There are some hidden reasons behind these protests and I can't tell those."
He said when the NRC in Assam was introduced in 1985 he was part of the union government.
"The decision to implement it nationally was done in 2003. Clause 14 and rule 4 were added. The CAA is the fulfillment of a promise that was made by Gandhi, Nehru, and others to those who are persecuted then," added Mr Khan.
Speaking to ANI about the reasons to include Afghanistan in three countries from which India has decided to accept non-Muslim refugees, Mr Khan said that the target is not Hamid Karzai (Former President of Afghanistan) or Asraf Ghani (President of Afghanistan) but the Taliban government installed in the nation by Pakistan.
"We never said Hamid and Ghani government's persecuted non-Hindus. But there was a government of the Taliban that was installed by Pakistan. Women and minorities were persecuted because Pakistan did atrocities on them," stated the governor.
The Governor said Pakistan was a Muslim nation and Muslims aren't persecuted.
On queries why Ahmediyas, who are also persecuted in Pakistan, have been left out of the amended Citizenship Act, Mr Khan said, "Ahmediyas are a persecuted community. They are living in Pakistan and are brave but every European country, especially Britain, is open to take them in. Their headquarters is in England. We didn't make any promise to them. The law is for those whom we promised during partition."
Mr Khan said though India empathises with those persecuted in other nations, it cannot give citizenship to everyone due to limited resources. "Then logically, we should give citizenship to Yemenis and Syrians too. But in today's context we are short on resources. God willing, if we have enough resources, we will accommodate all," stated Mr Khan.
Mr Khan, meanwhile, defended Kerala against allegations that Kerala residents were involved in violence in Mangaluru protests.
"An inquiry can be done. People of Kerala can show black flags but normally do not indulge in violence," he said.