Author Chetan Bhagat tweeted in support of activists protesting the controversial citizenship law and NRC (National Register of Citizens) today, urging the centre to "put CAA aside... announce NRC won't come... (to not) let a country burn to save ego". In his tweet Mr Bhagat also advised the government to focus on fighting challenges facing the Indian economy and expressed support for students brutally attacked by masked goons wielding iron rods and sledgehammers at Delhi's JNU last night.
Massive protests have broken out across the country since the government pushed the CAA through parliament last month. At least 21 people died in Uttar Pradesh alone - some in police firing - and deaths were also reported from Kerala and Assam, while reports of arson came in from Bengal - where five empty trains were set on fire - and other states.
"Time to see obvious... Put CAA aside, officially. Announce NRC won't come, as execution issues, anxiety created and the chances of abuse means we are not ready for it," Chetan Bhagat tweeted early this morning.
Time to see obvious.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) January 6, 2020
Put CAA aside, officially. Major communication gaps.
Announce NRC won't come, as execution issues, anxiety created and the chances of abuse means we are not ready for it.
Focus on upcoming budget.
It's not worth it. Can't let a country burn to save ego.
"Focus on upcoming budget... Not worth it. Can't let a country burn to save ego," he added.
Mr Bhagat's tweet comes amid an apparent hardening of the centre's stand on this issue, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah refusing to back down.
Late last month the Prime Minister hit out at the opposition Congress and its allies - "some urban Naxals" - for spreading rumours about the citizenship law affecting Muslims.
Addressing a rally in Delhi's Dwarka last month, on the same day fresh protests broke out in Seelampur in the national capital, Mr Shah said: "Come what may, the Modi government will ensure that these refugees get Indian citizenship and live as Indians with honour".
Opposition leaders and Chief Ministers have hit out at the CAA, insisting that neither the law nor programmes like the NRC and NPR (National Population Register) will be implemented in their respective states. The Chief Ministers of Kerala and Bengal - Pinarayi Vijayan and Mamata Banerjee - have written to their counterparts urging them to unite.
Critics of the CAA have also pointed out the enormous expenses involved and question the need for such a programme at a time when the Indian economy is struggling. Last week an American economist said India would "struggle" to achieve 5 per cent GDP growth this year.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, makes religion the test of citizenship for the first time. The government says it will help non-Muslim refugees, fleeing religious persecution, from three Muslim-dominated neighbouring countries. Activists say it discriminates against Muslims and violates secular tenets of the Constitution.