Top BJP leaders in door-to-door campaign to dispel 'misinformation' on amended Citizenship Act

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     New Delhi/Gorakhpur/Thiruvanathapuram, Jan 5 (PTI) BJP chief Amit Shah visited several houses in south Delhi, while UP Chief Minister Adityanath walked down to the shop of a Muslim resident in Gorakhpur as the party on Sunday launched a 10-day door-to-door campaign across the country to dispel "misinformation" on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act which has triggered a wave of protests since it was passed in December.
     Other top party leaders including Rajnath Singh, J P Nadda and Nitin Gadkari were in different parts of the country where they spoke to people on the benefits of the amended citizenship law and distributed literature on the subject.
     Shah visited nine homes and a temple in Lajpat Nagar which has significant population of refugees who had arrived in India after Partition. He was seen urging people to take out their mobile phones to give a missed call to a toll-free number the BJP has launched for the masses to register their support to the law.
     Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar launched the campaign in their respective states.
     Release protesters with no criminal background, Muslim resident to CM
     In Uttar Pradesh, where at least 19 people were killed in violence during anti-CAA protests, Chief Minister Adityanath handed over a booklet on the citizenship law to Haji Chaudhari Kaifulwara at his shop in the BJP leader's pocket-borough Gorakhpur and said the Act is meant to give citizenship to persecuted people.
     "This is a booklet about CAA, read it and all doubts will be cleared. I thought of beginning the awareness campaign from here," he said.
     Kaifulwara promised to create awareness about CAA and requested the chief minister to release people with no criminal background who were holding protests in Gorakhpur on December 20, saying children make mistakes.
     "It is the tradition of India to give shelter to persecuted people and Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought CAA to give citizenship to such people," Adityanath said while interacting with others residents belonging to Muslim community.
     Adityanath's deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya, who took part in a similar drive in Moradabad, hit out at the opposition parties, saying they were trying to misguide the public against the citizenship law to create unrest in the state.
     He said the law was not meant to take away anyone's citizenship, but the Congress, Samajwadi Party and its allies are "unfortunately" trying to mislead people by spreading confusion and violence.
     Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited the residence of Justice Khem Karan in his constituency Lucknow. BJP Working President Jagat Prakash Nadda was in Vaishali in Ghaziabad and Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Rampur for the awareness drive.
     Kerala writer tells Minister excluding a religion will create sense of alienation
     Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju visited the houses of some prominent citizens in Thiruvanathapuram, including Malayalam writer and Kerala Sahitya Akademi award winner George Onakkoor who told the BJP leader it was not fair to have excluded members of one religion from the purview of the Act.
     Rijiju expressed the hope people of the state with a high literacy rate will not be 'misguided' by those working to 'destroy' the country's social fabric.
     He replied the Act was not against any particular religion and pointed out that earlier the NDA government had given citizenship to "good Muslims", like singer Adnan Sami. "By good Muslims, we mean those who are not criminals," the Minister explained.
     Onakoor later told mediapersons accompanying the Minister that strict laws were needed to provide citizenship for the security of the country.
     "But we cannot do that by listing out six religions and leaving out any particular religion from the act. This creates a sense of feeling of being alienated in the society," he said.
     When asked about the views expressed by the writer, Rijiju said in a democracy everyone has the right to have a difference of opinion.
     "I wanted to meet some prominent personalities... The literacy rate in Kerala is very high. The awareness level is very high. So I am sure and have full confidence that Kerala people, especially the youth, will not be misguided by the anti-social elements who are working day and night to destroy the social fabric of India," the Minister said.
     Sitharaman targets Cong in Rajasthan, CM Gehlot calls campaign 'laughable'
     Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched the door-to-door awareness campaign on CAA at Kagzi Mohalla, Khudabaksh Chowk in Sanganer and accused the opposition of spreading misinformation about the new citizenship law.
     "The CAA is not for taking away anyone's citizenship. The Opposition has no other issue and therefore they are deliberately creating misconception. They are wrong. Confusion is being created by linking CAA with NRC and we have to clear it," she told a Muslim family.
     She said religious minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have faced persecution in their respective countries and sought asylum in India during the last six decades.
     "In the last six years, over 2,000 refugees, mostly Muslims, who have come from Pakistan got Indian citizenship. In the same period, more than 900 people, mostly Muslims, from Afghanistan and nearly 200 people, mostly Muslims, from Bangladesh also got citizenship. There is no exclusion. Even today, they can acquire citizenship under the Citizenship Act," Sitharaman said.
     Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, however, ridiculed the BJP, saying had there be any merit in the law, such a campaign would not have been necessary
     "There was a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered `Mann Ki Baat' (his monthly radio talk), and the entire country listened to him.
     "And now for the CAA, party leaders and ministers are forced to go from door to door to convince people. It is a laughable situation," the senior Congress leader said in Mumbai
     "Had the Act been good, they would not have been forced to go door-to-door," he said.
     Gehlot also alleged that the BJP's "hidden agenda" was to turn India into a "Hindu Rashtra".
     Former CM Raman Singh cites example of a former Pak minister to defend CAA
     Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, who was in Raipur, said they were succeeding in clearing apprehensions among the Muslim community.
     "I belong to Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. Deoband and Bareilly are two places of Islamic thought in UP. You must not have seen reports of any adverse situation from Bareilly on the issue of CAA," Gangwar said.
     "However, a large number of people from the Muslim community handed over a memorandum in this connection there. I spoke to people there and we succeeded in convincing them (to support the Act). There were apprehensions but we cleared it," the minister said.
     Former chief minister Raman Singh cited the ordeal of Pakistan's first law minister, Jogendra Nath Mandal, to drum up support for the CAA.
     "Jogendra Nath Mandal, the first law minister of Pakistan, had to resign when he raised issues of atrocities on minorities in that country. He had to leave Pakistan and take shelter in a refugee camp in West Bengal where he died," Singh said.
     No question of budging even an inch on CAA: BJP leader Rudy
     Senior BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the recent violence and vandalism at a gurdwara in Pakistan proved that the new citizenship law was necessary.
     "There is no question of the Modi government budging even an inch from CAA implementation," the BJP MP contended in Puri, emphasising the need to ensure safety of minorities persecuted in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

     Will visit places where Muslims reside in large numbers: Yediyurappa
     "There will not be any ill-effects on our Muslim brothers of the country because of the Citizenship Amendment Act. During Jawarharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi's (former PMs from Congress party) time also there was consensus on it," Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said.
     "We will also be visiting places where Muslim community resides in large numbers and try to create awareness among everyone. We don't have any difference towards Hindu, Muslim or Christian, we will inform facts to everyone," he said.
     Several BJP leaders including Union Minister D V Sadanada Gowda, Deputy Chief Ministers C N Ashwathnarayan and Laxman Savadi, Minister Suresh Kumar held similar door-to-door campaigns at various places.
     Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, who was in Hyderabad, asserted that "no Muslim in the country will be affected by the CAA".
     In Delhi, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met a baby girl named 'Nagrikta' who was born on the day the Act was enacted by the parliament.
     Underlining that India is a democratic country, he said there is freedom to protest but "there can't be any compromise with national security".
     "We welcome criticism but such voices and views which talk about dividing the country are not acceptable," he said at a programme on the act organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
     The CAA seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis who had arrived in India by December 31, 2014 from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh due to religious persecution.
     Opposition parties have called the law against India's Constitution for making religion a ground for citizenship.
     The BJP has launched a 'Jan Jagran' (public awareness) campaign to contact three crore families to counter the opposition's campaign against the CAA and inform the masses about its features. PTI ABN KR SMI AG RRT VS KSU RT

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)