Govt hastening to cover its tracks on NRC: Tharoor

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New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor on Friday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for retracting their stand on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and said the government was “hastening” to cover its tracks.
Addressing a press conference, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said, “The Prime Minister shockingly said in Delhi that there have been no discussions on NRC. Everyone has seen Amit Shah speaking in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and in several interviews in which he said that CAA will be followed by NRC and the purpose of the NRC is to identify the non-eligible for the citizenship.”
He said that if NRC is conducted it will become an exercise to identify dubious citizenship from one religious community alone.
“And that is not India and that is not that everyone can accept or tolerate,” he said lamenting that “What they have said and what they have declared their intentions are clear.”
Tharoor was referring to Modi’s speech at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi last month in which he had said that no discussions were going on about NRC. The Congress leader was responding to a question over the BJP accusing the Congress of misleading the people on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the NRC.
Tharoor said that in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha the party took a very strong stand that bringing the CAA is a fundamental betrayl of the freedom struggle. He said: “We made it clear that on this issue we won’t compromise. We are speaking for the soul of India, for the spirit of the nationalist movement of freedom struggle. And the CAA is an assault on the inclusive nature, pluralistic nature of the country and we are standing up for whole India.”
Tharoor also launched Delhi Congress’ campaign for the February 8 Assembly elections on Friday and sought suggestions and ideas for the party’s poll manifesto. He said, “Dialogue is important… We need a manifesto that reflects people’s needs. A two-way communication is a system that we are trying to bring so that people’s message to us is received,” Tharoor said.
To a question on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal not participating in any of the anti-CAA protests in the national capital, Tharoor said, “Kejriwal wants both pro- and anti-CAA votes on his sides.”
Targeting Kejriwal for not meeting the students injured in police lathi charge in Jamia Millia Islamia and in the violent clashes in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Tharoor said, “I don’t know who asked the Chief Minister to stay quiet over violence on university campuses and not meet the injured students. Do we need such a helpless Chief Minister?”
On December 15, the police resorted to lathi charge in Jamia after protests over CAA turned violent. On January 5, masked miscreants unleashed violence in JNU, leaving over two dozen students injured.
To a question over a woman arrested in Maharashtra for showing ‘Free Kashmir’ placard while joining the protest over the CAA and the NRC, he said, “The lady that was arrested for the Free Kashmir poster has clarified that what she meant was to free Kashmir of the internet and the mobile connections suspension that Congress has been asking.”
He said the Congress has asked “why our leaders were arrested and why do we have no internet for five months in Kashmir.”
“Let the Kashmiris enjoy the freedom which is also their right to enjoy,” he said.
He also said that this was a pro-Indian and patriotic act to stand for the Constitution. To another question if the incidents of Jamia and JNU will have an effect on the Delhi Assembly polls, he said, “In every election the BJP tries to polarise the vote. And we hope that the voters of Delhi will resist any attempt to polarise.”
He said the assault on students is a “naked attempt” to divert attention from the real issues like economy in crisis, unemployment at 42-year low and failure on controlling air pollution.
“BJP-led Central government has failed and in Delhi also they will fail if voted to power,” Tharoor added.

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