Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, in an interview with Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, has demanded that the Modi government should settle all the persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan seeking citizenship in India under the new Citizenship Law, in Jammu and Kashmir.
In the interview with Shiv Sena MP and Saamana chief editor, Sanjay Raut, Thackeray said that the Union Government has not been clear about the number of persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries to be settled in India. “Where will they be settled? Will they get houses under PM Awas Yojana? What about their employment? What about the education of their children? We have the right to know all these things”, said the Maharashtra CM.
Thackeray furthered that these people (Hindu, Sikh and Christian minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh)are not going to settle in rural areas. They will approach major cities where people are already suffering from unemployment and have no house to live.
“The government should come clean on this. Will they be settled in Delhi or Bengaluru? Now that Article 370 is abrogated, will the government facilitate their rehabilitation in Kashmir? Why doesn’t Government declare that? They should declare that the persecuted minorities will be settled in Kashmir, said the Maharashtra CM.”
In yet another flip flop on CAA, Thackeray batted for the Citizenship Amendment Act and said that it had been misunderstood. He claimed there was no need to pass an Assembly resolution against it, contrary to his previous claim that the law has several loopholes.
In an interview to party mouthpiece Saamana, Thackeray said the ‘misunderstandings’ about the citizenship law need to be cleared. “CAA is not a law to remove someone from the country,” he added. “Amit Shah has said that it is to give citizenship. And I agree with it to that extent. It is to give citizenship to those persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries and not to remove anyone from the country.”
It is pertinent to note here that Shiv Sena has frequently changed its stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act since December when it was approved by Parliament.
Ahead of the tabling of the Citizen (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha, the party had in its mouthpiece Saamana criticised the Centre for creating an “invisible partition of Hindus and Muslims”. The party also wondered whether the ‘selective acceptance’ of Hindu undocumented immigrants would spark a religious war in India. The party alleged that practising “vote bank politics” under the guise of the Bill was not in the nation’s interests.
Though the Shiv Sena had opposed the Bill during the debate, however, in an amusing twist of events, it voted for the passage of Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in the Lok Sabha. All 18 Shiv Sena MPs in the Lok Sabha voted for the Bill. After that, it chose to stay out of the Rajya Sabha when the House voted on the BILL.
Party MP Sanjay Raut then claimed that the Sena had “boycotted” the voting as “it is not right to either support or oppose the bill when answers are not given properly” by the government.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had also slammed Shiv Sena over its flipflop on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now an Act), calling it Shiv Sena’s ‘bhangra politics’.
Meanwhile, as Uddhav progressed with the interview, he categorically claimed that he will not allow the implementation of the National Register of Citizens in Maharashtra. “It is not that the NRC is troublesome for Muslims only,” he said. “In fact, NRC will not come. We will not let it come. If BJP decides to implement the NRC, it will create problems not only for Muslims but for all of us, Hindus and the people from all the religions,” said Uddhav.
Calling NRC secular, Shiv Sena supremo said that NRC is going to affect Hindus and Muslims alike. Hindus too would be asked to furnish their documents. They will have to stand in queues and prove their citizenship. Those who think it will only impact Muslims are grossly mistaken. In Assam, out of 19 lakh people left out of the register, 14 lakh were Hindus, claimed Thackeray.
In a veiled attack on his cousin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray, who is to lead a rally in support of the CAA and NRC in Mumbai on February 9, the chief minister said the NRC is not yet a reality and there is no need for a ‘morcha’ in support of or against it.
“If the NRC is enforced, those who are supporting it will also be affected,” he said.
While unveiling a new saffron flag for the MNS on Thursday, Raj Thackeray had maintained that Pakistani and Bangladeshi ‘infiltrators’ should be evicted from the country and that he supports the Narendra Modi government on this.