Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday sought to assuage concerns of Muslims over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the NRC, saying both have nothing to do with Indian citizens and slammed his rivals for "inciting" people and trying to divide the country in their bid to target him.
Modi also said there are no detention centres in India and no Muslims are being detained in the country. He also accused the Congress and its allies of "spreading lies" about the NRC and the amended Citizenship Act amid countrywide protests.
"The Congress and its allies - some Urban Naxals - are spreading rumors that all Muslims will be sent to detention centres. At least value your education... at least read once about the Citizenship Amendment Act," PM Modi said at a mega rally at Ramlila Maidan where he launched the BJP's poll campaign for the assembly elections in Delhi next year.
"Those who are the Muslims of this country's soil, they have nothing to do with the citizenship law and the NRC. Neither is anybody sending the nation's Muslims to detention centres nor are there any detention centres in India. This is a white lie which is dividing the nation," he said.
Hitting back at Modi, the Congress tweeted screenshots of media reports which had claimed that detention centres are built in Navi Mumbai and Assam’s Goalpara. The party also shared a screenshot of a report that quoted Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai as saying that 28 people had died in the detention centres in Assam from the beginning of 2016 till October 10, 2018.
“Does PM Modi believe Indians can't do a simple google search to fact check his lies? Detention Centres are extremely real and will continue to grow as long as this govt is in power,” the Congress tweeted sharing the screenshots.
Does PM Modi believe Indians can't do a simple google search to fact check his lies?— Congress (@INCIndia) December 22, 2019
Detention Centres are extremely real and will continue to grow as long as this govt is in power. https://t.co/S8caIH6u6J pic.twitter.com/APl4JNfQgc
Putting up a strong defence of the contentious law, Modi said that it is about giving rights to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries and does not snatch anybody's rights.
Launching a scathing attack on opposition parties like the Congress, AAP, the TMC and the Left over their protests against the law, he said India had an opportunity to expose Pakistan over its discrimination against minorities but it was lost due to their politics.
Modi devoted a considerable part of his nearly 100-minute speech, which he started with the slogan of 'vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta' (Unity in diversity is India's speciality) , to allay concerns of Muslims and said they should look at his "track record" and not listen to "tape record" of his rivals.
(With PTI inputs)