- Kirit Somaiya was asked about dragging children into politics over CAA
- "Maine aapko jawaab de diya hai (I've replied to your question)," he said
- Mumbai school sent notice for holding pro-CAA event last week
A school in Mumbai, which organized an event in support of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and asked students to write postcards to Prime Minister Narendra Modi "thanking" him for the law, has been issued notice by the Maharashtra government.
The event at Dayanand Balak Balika Vidyalaya in Mumbai's Matunga was organized by the BJP on Friday. BJP leader Kirit Somaiya's response to NDTV's questions on dragging schoolchildren into politics over the citizenship law has gone viral.
The former BJP MP has lashed out in a video at the state's Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government for the notice to a school "for an attempt to raise awareness among children about a law passed in parliament."
After he visited the school on Monday, NDTV asked Kirit Somaiya to respond to allegations that the party had used schoolchildren in its attempt to project support over the citizenship law amid protests across the country. The BJP leader had just one response: "Maine aapko jawaab de diya hai (I have replied to your question)". He repeated that sentence 27 times.
Unsurprisingly, the hashtag #MaineAapkoJawabDeDiyaHai soon started circulating on Twitter.
Mr Somaiya had been asked multiple questions:
*Questions are being raised on CAA politics in a school, and BJP leaders were also involved
*Schoolchildren were told about "traitors" opposing the law when many adults are yet to understand it.
*Was it not wrong to organize such an event in a school?
*Do you think it is right to tell small children about CAA and ask them to write postcards to the government?
*Do you have no answer to these questions?
*We wouldn't have asked these questions if you had already answered them.
*This is like asking a machine. Kirit Somaiya was in the school but he is saying nothing.
To each question, Mr Somaiya's mechanical response remained unchanged.
The Mumbai school event was organized amid nationwide protests by college students, activists and opposition parties against the religion-based citizenship law. The government says the CAA will help non-Muslim minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh - to become Indian citizens easily if they fled to India before 2015 because of religious persecution. But critics fear the CAA discriminates against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.
The education department has sent notice asking the school to explain. A trustee of the school administration said: "This was a BJP programme that was organised in the school ground and we had invited the principal. Some students accompanied him after school got over. The students wanted to know more about the CAA. Some students wanted to ask questions and we could not refuse. The school has nothing to do with the programme."