Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — Congress MP and Dalit leader PL Punia on Saturday slammed Dalit parties like the BSP of Mayawati for supporting the Modi government on the citizenship issue. Former Union minister Tariq Anwar said the CAA was a well-thought-out conspiracy of the Modi government to create a religious divide in the country.
Tariq Anwar’s All India Qaumi Tanzeem and Punia’s Dalit-Muslim Adhikar Manch organised a joint press conference here to extend support to the ongoing protests across the country and demand withdrawal of the religiously discriminatory citizenship law.
Both the leaders expressed the hope that the Supreme Court would give due consideration to the ongoing protests against the CAA when the related petitions are heard and decided on.
Punia, former chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and an ex-IAS officer, came down heavily on the Dalit leaders and their parties that are in cahoots with the Modi government on the CAA and NRC. Without taking the names of Union ministers Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti party and Ram Das Athawale’s Republican Party, he said they have been under pressure from the BJP to back the government steps.
Punia, formerly with the BSP, pointed out that the BSP MPs, as part of the Mayawati’s policy, remained absent in the Rajya Sabha when the voting was held on the Citizenship bill. “The BJP knows their (these Dalit parties) weaknesses and Achilles’ heel and took advantage,” he said.
He also questioned the BJP’s out-reach programme to explain the need for a new citizenship law to 3.5 crore families across the country. “PM Modi and Home Minister Shah keep asserting that the CAA is good for the country, then why do the BJP and these leaders want a mass contact of such a magnitude to explain matters,” Punia wanted to know. Tariq Anwar attacked the Modi- Shah duo, saying both the leaders behaved like ‘adamant kids.”
“The whole country has erupted against this divisive law, and every section of the society is out in the street. Even the burqa-clad women who rarely come out from their homes are in the street, protesting, but the government is still not willing to listen to them,” he said.
Terming the CAA as an attack on India’s federal structure and cultural ethos, he said the Modi government has failed on all fronts. Condemning the police brutalities in UP and other BJP-ruled states, the two leaders demanded a high-level judicial inquiry into the violent incidents.
Cautioning against the dire-consequences of NRC if it is rolled out at the national level, they said 30 crore people in this country were landless and lived below the poverty line, and nearly 40 per cent of the people of the country were not literate. “How will these sections of the population produce documents to prove their citizenship,” they asked.
“The government should take a lesson from the Assam NRC experience as it unleashed chaos in the state despite spending a whopping Rs 1,600 crore and employing 50,000 people for the updating process — which took 10 years to complete,” Anwar said.
Extending full support to the ongoing movement against the CAA, these leaders also praised the Shaheen Bagh women for their tenacity and determination in continuing the protest through its second month.
BJP, RSS TRADING IN LIES
On the BJP allegation that the Congress is allegedly offering Rs 500 per day to each woman participating in the protest, Punia rubbished the allegation and said everybody knew the BJP and the RSS spread lies.
The leaders said the government should understand the mood of the country and take back the controversial piece of legislation as it was not in the interests of the country.