Mumbai: Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) would not be implemented in Maharashtra, arguing that it would make proving citizenship complicated for Hindus and Muslims.
Mr Thackeray, on the other hand, defended the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) — which his own allies, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, have opposed — saying that it won’t take away anyone’s citizenship but rather grant citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries.
Mr Thackeray and the Shiv Sena have been vocal supporters of the CAA, which is considered the precursor to the NRC.
In an interview to the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, the chief minister said, “The NRC will not be allowed in Maharashtra. Proving citizenship will be difficult for both Hindus and Muslims. I will not let that happen,” he said.
The Sena chief also reiterated that his party would continue to endorse Hindutva. “We have not abandoned Hindutva and will never do so. Just that we have formed an alliance government in Maharashtra does not mean that we have changed our religion. We have not compromised anything on the ideology of Hindutva,” he said.
Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, who is also the editor of Saamana, interviewed the Sena chief. A short clip of the interview was shared on Twitter while the full interview will be released in the coming days.
The Shiv Sena had earlier criticised the Narendra Modi government over the new citizenship law and the proposed NRC, both of which have led to protests across the country. The Sena had earlier alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted a ‘Hindu-Muslim riot’ over the CAA.
The CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11. Those opposed to the legislation have argued that it violates the basic tenets of the Constitution.
However, the government and ruling BJP have been defending the Act, saying minority groups from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have no other option but to come to India to escape religious persecution.