By Staff Reporter / New Delhi
Major Opposition parties today demanded that the amended Citizenship Act should be withdrawn and the process of NPR immediately stopped, asserting that it was all part of an “unconstitutional package” that targeted poor people, SC/STs and minorities.
The assertion was made after a meeting of the Opposition, convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, during which the leaders of 20 parties deliberated on the current political situation in the country, following widespread protests against the amended Citizenship Act and the violence on campuses.
Significantly, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) stayed away from the meeting.
“The CAA, NPR and NRC is a package that is unconstitutional, which specifically targets the poor, the downtrodden, the SC/STs and the linguistic and religious minorities,” the resolution adopted by the parties said.
“The NPR is the basis for the NRC. We demand the withdrawal of the CAA and the immediate stoppage of the nationwide NRC/NPR,” it added.
Those chief ministers who have announced that they will not implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in their states must consider to suspend the National Population Register (NPR) enumeration also as it is a prelude to the NRC, it said.
Addressing a meeting of the Opposition, Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah of misleading people on the amended Citizenship Act and the NRC, and remaining “insensitive to state suppression and violence”.
Gandhi said there have been nation-wide spontaneous protests by youths supported by citizens from all walks of life.
“The immediate cause is the CAA and NRC but they reflect widespread frustration and pent up anger, which is now out in the open. The response of the police in UP and Delhi has been shockingly partisan and brutal,” the Congress chief said.
“The Prime Minister and Home Minister have misled the people. They have contradicted their own statements of only weeks ago, and continue with their provocative statements while remaining insensitive to the state suppression and violence that is increasingly becoming commonplace,” she said.
The “Modi-Shah government stands totally exposed” for its inability to govern and to provide security to the people, Gandhi alleged.
BSP, AAP and the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress stayed away from the meeting
The nation has watched in horror at the “BJP-orchestrated assault” on JNU after what happened in Jamia, BHU, Allahabad University and AMU, she said.
Contrary to the assertions of the Home Minister, it is clear that this is being done to lead to a nation-wide NRC, she claimed.
Stating that the real issue facing India on Monday is the collapse of economic activity, she alleged that the prime minister and the home minister have no answers and want to divert the nation’s attention from “this grim reality by raising one divisive and polarizing issue after another”.
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, JMM leader and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, LJD chief Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party leader Upendra Kushwaha, RJD leader Manoj Jha, National Conference leader Hasnain Masoodi, besides Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and former prime minister Manmohan Singh were among those present.
The meeting, convened by Gandhi, was attended by leaders of opposition parties like NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, LJD chief Sharad Yadav, Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, besides Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Ahmed Patel. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh was also present.