Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said that no one can dare touch any Indian Muslim, as he dismissed apprehensions that the community will be targeted if National Population Register and National Register of Citizens are brought in, and cautioned against forces which are attempting to "create a divide" between Hindus and Muslims over the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Addressing a rally in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act in Meerut, Mr Singh said religious minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have been living a "life of misery" and India has fulfilled its "moral duty" by enacting the bill.
He also questioned those opposing the NPR and NRC, stressing that they were mooted much before the BJP government was formed, and rejected claims that Muslims will be forced to leave the country.
"There has been no discussion on NRC. But, suppose a country wants to create a national register of citizens, why should there be an objection to it? Shouldn't there be a document for people to seek benefits of government schemes," he asked the crowd.
"... But they say you are making NPR register and then you will bring NRC and banish all Muslims. I want to tell Muslims present here that nobody can dare touch any Muslim who is an Indian citizen. I want to assure you. If anyone has any complaint they can come to us... we will stand with that Muslim citizens," the minister said.
Mr Singh said India was partitioned on the basis of religion and even Mahatma Gandhi wanted that Indian government should be sensitive towards minorities of neighbouring countries if they face religious persecution there. He had said such people should be given citizenship.
"We have done what Gandhiji had said (by bringing CAA). Did we commit a crime?"
"There are certain forces who want to create a divide between Hindus and Muslims on the issue of CAA. These forces have vested interests in creating a rift between the communities. I appeal to everyone that communal tension should not be created," he said.
He also cited former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's remarks made in Rajya Sabha in favour of granting citizenship to minorities from neighbouring countries. He said that citizenship law is being viewed from a Hindu-Muslim perspective, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks of justice and humanity.