Communist Party of India leader Kanhaiya Kumar today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of trying to drive a wedge between the country's Hindu and Muslim communities by implementing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
"Modi and Shah used to create a conflict between Hindus and Muslims during the Gujarat elections. Now they are adopting the same strategy across the country," news agency PTI quoted the former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader as saying at a rally in Maharashtra's Parbhani district.
Speaking at the event, Kanhaiya Kumar asked citizens to keep religious conflicts aside and instead confront the centre on issues such as rising unemployment and poor state of the economy. "When people question the government about the problems plaguing the country, it responds by questioning their citizenship. Through the Citizenship Amendment Act, the government is adding fuel to a fire that is already raging in the country," he said.
The controversial law, the former student leader maintained, is more about snatching people's citizenship rather than granting it.
The country has witnessed protests since December last year, when the government enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act that makes it easier for non-Muslims migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to become Indian citizens. Critics say that the law is against the secular principles of the country and is likely to pose a threat to the country's Muslim community when enacted alongside the National Register of Citizens.
Kanhaiya Kumar is a staunch critic of the National Register of Citizens, which aims to identify illegal migrants in the country, as well as the Citizenship Amendment Act. Speaking to NDTV last month, he had said that the two central initiatives would "affect Muslims as well as every poor citizen who does not possess the required documents".
"If the government does not give up its divide-and-rule strategy, all the people who love this country and its constitution will come out agitating," he had warned then.
(With inputs from PTI)