Mumbai: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Saturday said that the people who care for the country’s unity and progress are opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“Not just minorities but those who care for the country’s unity and progress are opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and proposed the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The new citizenship law will disturb and hurt religious and social unity and harmony of the country,” Mr Pawar told reporters in Pune.
Mr Pawar also termed the CAA and NRC ploys by the Centre to divert attention from the serious issues plaguing the country. He also expressed apprehension that the Union government might dismiss the state governments opposing the new citizenship law.
The veteran politician and Maratha strongman said that like eight other states, Maharashtra should also refuse implementation of the new citizenship law, which he feared would hurt the religious and social harmony of India, he said, while in response to a query.
The NCP is a part of Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, headed by the Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, along with the Congress.
He also reiterated his party’s stand and said that his party had opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill when it came up for passage in the Parliament. “CAA and NRC are ploys to divert people’s attention from serious issues that the country is facing,” he added.
“The CAA may be a Central act, but the implementation will be done by the state agencies. But do the states have resources and machinery to do so,” the NCP president asked.
The 79-year-old NCP leader also termed the arrest of activists in the Elgar Parishad case “wrong” and “vengeful”. He also sought an SIT (Special Investigation Team) probe, headed by a retired judge, into Pune police’s action against the activists in the case.
He also sought that the police officers involved in the arrests be suspended. “It is wrong to imprison the activists on the charge of sedition. Voicing extreme views is allowed in democracy. The action of Pune police is wrong and vengeful. It is a misuse of power by the police commissioner and some of the officers. They had attacked the basic freedom of people and one cannot be a mute spectator to all this,” he added.
“We will demand the chief minister that an SIT headed by a retired judge be instituted for the probe,” the NCP chief said.
“Facts should be verified. The role of the previous government and the investigation team was doubtful. The police officers concerned should be suspended and their action should be probed.”