How far will Narendra Modi go

Hardeep Singh Puri said PM Modi gave his assurance that there has been no discussion on a nationwide NRC

New Delhi:

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said that minorities in the country have nothing to fear from the Citizenship Amendment Act, and the ongoing protests were the result of "fearmongering" by certain elements. He also said that the controversial law should not be linked to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), especially after Prime Minister Narendra Modi has denied any plan to implement it across the country.

"A false narrative is being created on something like the Citizenship Amendment Act," he told NDTV, claiming that the law was intended only to provide refuge to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The Union Minister also rejected claims that the amended law, when implemented along with the NRC, will prove detrimental to the country's Muslim community. "The first important thing to remember about the CAA is that it does not discriminate against anyone, it does not take anyone's rights away. By linking it with NRC, people have created that fear," he maintained.

Mr Puri said PM Modi has given his assurance that that there has been no discussion on a nationwide NRC. "You can believe the PM because he's the boss," he said.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, for the first time, makes religion the test of citizenship in India. While the government says it will help persecuted minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries get citizenship, critics say it violates the secular principles of the constitution.

Mr Puri condemned the attack on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on Sunday evening, but said that there was some ambiguity on "what exactly happened". "There was one incident that all television channels had on last evening, but trouble has been brewing there for a while," he told NDTV.

He also rejected allegations of inaction leveled against the Delhi Police. "The police are caught in a very interesting situation. If they go into a campus and there is violence, you blame the police. But here, the police did not enter and you are saying..." he said, apparently referring to the crackdown by the city police on the Jamia Millia University last month.

The Union Minister said that the situation in the Jawaharlal Nehru University was more "complicated" than most people can understand. "I have seen the JNU Students Union president leading a mob. How do you answer that?" he said, adding that the actual story may be "very different".

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CAA ProtestsHardeep Singh PuriJNU Violence