Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday asserted that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is not against the Muslim community in India. He said by bringing the new law, the NDA government was not doing any injustice to Muslims in the country. Mr Gadkari also accused the Congress of spreading "misinformation" over the issue for ''vote bank politics''.
He was addressing a rally here in support of the NDA government's decision to enact a new law, which seeks to provide citizenship to persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
The rally was organised a local body and supported by the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). "The decision taken by the government to give justice to religious minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh is not against the Muslim community of India. We are not talking about sending Muslims out of the country,"
Mr Gadkari said.
He said the government's only concern was foreign intruders living in the country.
The minister said Muslims should understand that the Congress cannot help in the development of the community. "What has it (Congress) done for you? I request the Muslim community of the country to understand the conspiracy. Your development can be done only by the BJP and not the Congress," the minister said.
"You used to ride cycle-rickshaw, we gave you e-rickshaw and helped you stand. The Congress considers you as a vote machine so that it can rule afterwards. Don't fall for this misinformation," he said.
"We all are one, our legacy is one. You go to masjid, we don''t oppose it. We all will live together and work according to the Constitution framed by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. This is what we have been saying, not anything new," he said.
Mr Gadkari said before 1947, there was an "Akhand Bharat". After partition,Muhammad Ali Jinnah declared Pakistan as a Muslim nation. "But, in our country, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, it was accepted that our nation would not be a ''Hindu Rashtra'', but it would be a ''secular nation'' for all communities in our country," he said.
But, when this was decided, Mahatma Gandhi was asked that Pakistan is an Muslim country and there are 22 per cent Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians there, and where will they go if they face injustice and persecution, he said.
"Gandhiji replied that minorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, whenever they will require support, India will support them," the senior BJP leader said.
It is written in the Constitution that when Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Christians from Pakistan and Afghanistan go to India they would be referred as ''refugees'', he said.
"You will ask why Muslim community members are not called ''refugees''. Dr B R Ambedkar has clarified that in the Constitution," Mr Gadkari said.
Pakistan and Bangladesh are Islamic nations and there are over 100 to 150 countries which have declared themselves as Islamic or Muslim nations, he pointed out.
Dr Ambedkar said in the Constitution that Muslims of these countries, if they want to leave their country, they have 100 to 150 alternatives and they can get shelter in any Muslim country of the world, he mentioned.
"But, Hindus, Sikhs, Indian Buddhists, Christians, Jains have no nation to go," Mr Gadkari said, adding that "our country accepts all".