File image: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari
Asserting that minorities in India have nothing to fear from the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said some parties who want to play vote bank politics are creating fear and insecurity.
Road Transport, Highways and MSME Minister Gadkari speaking at 'Agenda Aaj Tak 2019' said "deliberate" attempts are being made by such forces to create "misunderstanding" of the law.
"This Act is against foreigners and not against Indian citizens... People are being provoked by deliberately creating misunderstanding about the law ...Whoever are Indian citizens, whichever religion they belong to, caste creed or sex - we have neither supported any such discrimination nor will do that. CAA is not against minorities," Gadkari said.
He said ever since BJP has risen to power in the Centre, there are political parties who are creating fear among minorities saying that "BJP is against minorities or will drive them out which is not true".
The Minister said that creating fear is a part of politics by some opposition parties who play "vote bank politics" which is not good in a democracy or in national interest or for the unity and integrity of the country.
"It is a simple fact that no country welcomes illegal migrants by rolling out red carpet to them. You must be aware that in Assam the previous agitation was held because of large scale illegal migrants entering the country. They were given right to franchise later due to vote bank politics. Some of them reached Parliament and Assemblies," he said.
Gadkari said in Bangladesh and Pakistan, the number of Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists have decreased drastically in the last 40-50 years because of injustice meted out to them.
"They don't have any other country to take refuge in. If they want to come to us, we will give them citizenship. This is quite natural. There are thousands of people in Kashmir and in other parts and there is no harm in providing citizenship to them," he said.
He also added that a section of political parties or media are misquoting "Hindutva" and stressed that all those living in India are "Hindus or Hindustanis" and Hindu is a lifestyle much above the narrow confines of religion.
The Minister said: "It is not proper to politicalise a national issue (CAA). We are trying to convince them ... we will convince them, peace will be restored."
Violent protests had erupted in different parts of the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act which was passed by Parliament last week.
According to the Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.