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Opposition parties defend anti-CAA protests in RS

Opposition parties defend   anti-CAA protests in RS

New Delhi: Terming the protests over the amended citizenship law as "spontaneous", opposition parties in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday alleged that the Constitution is under threat from the ruling BJP which is "destroying" the social fabric of the nation.

Members from the NCP, DMK, TDP and the RJD also voiced concern over the detention of NC leader Farooq Abdullah since August 5 last year when Article 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped, and questioned the government's intent.

Participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's address in the Upper House, the ruling BJP defended the government's decisions on Jammu and Kashmir and the Citizenship Amendment Act, saying they have strengthened the nation and democracy, and slammed the opposition for backing protests like in Shaheen Bagh.

"Nehru, Gandhi, Ambedkar, Constitution and we the people of India are under attack.... Every day under the present government is January 30 when Mahatma Gandhi was murdered. "Ecosystem of the nation is being destroyed and days are not far off when the word Taliban will not be alien here," RJD leader Manoj Kumar Jha said.

He said the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act were "spontaneous" including in Shaheen Bagh and the situation was so alarming that "5-6 states had passed resolution against CAA and NRC".

He apprehended that the days were not far-off when the fight between the Centre and states will reach the streets and added that "a majority in Parliament is not a licence for a majoritarian in Parliament".

Majeed Memon (NCP) asked what kind of terror was created by former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah that he was detained since August 5 and could not attend Parliament. The National Conference leader is an MP from Srinagar.

He charged that the President's speech did not portray the true picture of the country and appeared like a political manifesto of a political party.

Memon said the constitutional validity of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir is yet to undergo judicial scrutiny.

DMK's Vaiko termed August 5, 2019 as the "blackest day" in the history of India saying three former chief ministers were detained and added that it was a pre-mediated conspiracy of "Hindutva forces".

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Naqvi said the BJP government has strengthened the social fabric of nation and believed in "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas".

He took a dig at the Congress, saying this is a strong government unlike in the past when "there used to be a PM and super PM and super PMO".

He said electricity connection has been provided in all villages, 11 crore toilets were built and loot in the corridors of power was nipped. Naqvi charged the Congress with echoing Pakistan on surgical strike and supporting anti-CAA agitation like in Shaheen Bagh.

"A conspiracy has been hatched and fear is being created in the minds of people, and women and children are misguided on CAA," the minister said, adding he never expected a seasoned leader like Ghulam Nabi Azad to say that that the whole country will turn into Shaheen Bagh.

"Bogus bragging brigade was out to create confusion and fear among masses," he said, adding the Congress was disturbed by the massive mandate to the BJP but it should respect it.

The opposition by states to the CAA was not good and a senior Congress member himself said that it was not proper, the BJP leader said.

Secularism and tolerance were in the DNA of the BJP government and it believed in inclusive and sustainable development, he said, adding that minority share in government jobs under Narendra Modi government has increased to 9 per cent from 4.9 per cent.

Naqvi stressed that Muslims need not fear the CAA. He said Muslim population has increased from nine per cent of population at the time of Independence to 19 per cent in 2011 census. B K Hariprasad (Congress) accused the Modi government of failing on all fronts. He also criticised the government's policy on disinvestment of public sector units. The current regime has brought policies which discriminate against a particular religion, he said.

He also hit out at a BJP MP for his controversial remarks on Mahatama Gandhi, calling him a loose cannon and "fool of first order".

Participating in the debate, BJP MP Vijay Goel said he is a "proud Hindu" and RSS volunteer. Taking on the Congress party for objecting to scrapping of Article 370, Goel challenged the opposition party to announce they will bring back the provision if voted to power.

He said as the opposition parties have failed to defeat Narendra Modi, they have taken to protests on streets as seen at Shaheen Bagh. The Modi government has succeeded in its motto of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas', but the opposition parties were not able to digest it, and hence were resorting to protests, he said.

He also alleged that the man who fired at Shaheen Bagh was a worker of Aam Aadmi Party.

Abdur Wahab (IUML) alleged that the present government has converted India into a police state and has created fear among people, especially poor and minorities.

Jose K Mani (KC-M) said the President's address did not talk about the slowing economy.

The House also witnessed a brief exchange of words between Congress MPs and BJP member Rakesh Sinha when the latter said that an NCERT text book of Class XI before 2001 used objectionable reference to Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur.

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