Lucknow: Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday turned up the heat on opposition parties for resisting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Shah was in Lucknow today as part of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) effort to mobilise support for the contentious Act.

CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC) have sparked off protests in parts of the country as some believe they go against the secular values of the country, offering citizenship to all non-Muslims who entered India by 31 December, 2014.

Shah also attacked the Congress for opposing the legitimacy that BJP was granting to refugees. He accused other opposition parties including Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress of trying to spread “misinformation."

"I’m here to tell you, all of you – Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi come and debate this with me. I had piloted the Bill in the Parliament. Show me where the Bill says that it will take away a person’s citizenship. They are spreading lies. Nowhere does the Bill say that it will take away citizenship," Shah said in Lucknow.

The BJP has been trying to gather support for the law that will give citizenship to members of six major religions. The law will grant citizenship to those who have suffered religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, the amended law excludes Muslims and it is considered discriminatory and against the principles of equality propagated by the Constitution.

The home minister also said the Congress was misleading people “by saying we are discriminating on the basis of religion and Muslims of India will lose citizenship. This law is to grant citizenship and not take it away," adding that the Congress was only “worried about their own vote bank".

Shah attacked West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee saying, “Tell me what the problem is. 70% of the refugees are Dalits. Why do you not want to grant them citizenship?"

Shah reiterated that CAA would not affect any Indian or any existing citizen of the country. He added that the law was only aimed at sheltering those who had faced persecution in these countries.

“The families of the persecuted minorities were mistreated, their women were raped, their businesses were destroyed – and Congress says not to grant them citizenship," Shah said, adding that “they came here in lakhs and urged us to give them citizenship because they had nowhere to go. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had the courage to grant them that and the CAA was passed."

Despite opposition from states such as Kerala, Punjab and West Bengal, Shah said “CAA is here to stay and it will not be taken back".
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