Repeal CAA, stop NPR/NRC: Oppn parties

Repeal CAA, stop NPR/NRC: Oppn parties
Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders during a meeting in New Delhi, Monday.
NEW DELHI, JAN 13 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/13/2020 11:01:57 AM IST


Stating that the “spirit of resistance has awoken”, opposition parties on Monday called for repealing the Citizenship Amendment Act and “immediate stoppage of the NRC/NPR” on grounds that the “package” is unconstitutional and targets the poor and downtrodden. 
The meeting, convened by the Congress, saw chinks in the opposition ranks with leaders of about 20 political parties attending it but six major parties -- DMK, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Shiv Sena -- choosing to stay away. 
Former PM Manmohan Singh, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja,  Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren of the JMM and LJD chief Sharad Yadav were among those who attended the meeting. 
While Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said the protests against CAA and NRC reflect widespread frustration and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah of diverting attention from real issues such as the economy.
Sonia said the nationwide protests by youth supported by citizens reflect widespread frustration and pent up anger. She also alleged that the response of police in UP and Delhi has been “shockingly partisan and brutal”.  Rahul Gandhi challenged Modi to visit any of the troubled campuses and speak on what he is going to do for the country. 
“CAA, NPR and NRC is a package that is unconstitutional, which specifically targets the poor, the downtrodden, the SC/STs and the linguistic and religious minorities. The NPR is the basis for the NRC. We demand the withdrawal of CAA and the immediate stoppage of the nationwide NRC/NPR,” stated the joint resolution adopted at the meeting. 
It said all chief ministers who have announced they will not implement the National Register of Citizens in their state must also consider suspend the National Population Register enumeration which was a prelude. The resolution also listed three dates-- Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary on January 23, Republic Day on January 26 and Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom day on January 30-- on which to peacefully and appropriately defend the Constitution and safeguard the secular democratic republic.
“A spirit of resistance has awoken.  We urgent every fellow Indian to strengthen this spirit by joining in solidarity to observe January 23 is the birthday of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose,” the resolution said.
On Republic Day, people should read the Preamble of the Constitution and take oath to safeguard it. And on January 30, highlight Mahatma Gandhi’s relentless campaigns in pursuit of communal harmony. The BJP, it said, has embarked on a “dangerous course of sharpening communal polarization and attacking democratic rights and Constitutional guarantees of the people affecting millions of people and marginalized communities”. 
‘Pakistan must be happy,’ counters BJP
The opposition parties, led by the Congress, passed a resolution against the amended Citizenship Act and National Population Register (NPR) on Monday, calling them part of an “unconstitutional package” that targets the poor and downtrodden. 
In a firm rebuttal, the BJP said that the opposition resolution against the law must have made Pakistan happy since it was a chance to expose Islamabad.
Union law minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the opposition resolution will make Pakistan very happy since the legislation was a chance to expose Islamabad’s “barbaric treatment” of minorities.
He added said the Opposition ended up “unnecessarily” attacking the Modi government in the process.
Taking a dig over some parties skipping the meeting, the Union law minister said the opposition unity stood “exposed”.
“Opposition unity stands exposed as major parties like SP, BSP, TMC and AAP kept away (from a meeting convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi). The resolution is neither in national interest nor in the interest of security. It is also not in the interest of those minorities who fled neighbouring countries to escape persecution,” Prasad told reporters.

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