New Delhi, Feb 6 :Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hit out at the Congress in Lok Sabha over its opposition to the CAA and asked if first premier Jawaharlal Nehru could be described as “communal” for seeking citizenship for religious minorities from Pakistan.
Replying to a debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, Modi said that even Nehru had wanted Indian citizenship for religious minorities from Pakistan as he defended the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
He said the first prime minister of India (Jawaharlal Nehru) wrote to the first chief minister of Assam (Gopinath Bordoloi), saying there was a need to differentiate between Hindu refugees and Muslim migrants.
Modi said Nehru was of the view that even laws can be changed in this regard.
He said Nehru had wanted to defend minorities in then West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
“Was he communal, did he want to create a Hindu Rashtra…I want to ask the Congress,” the prime minister said.
He said Nehru was a big thinker. Why did he not include all citizens but mentioned only religious minorities in the Nehru-Liaquat Agreement? Modi asked.
Liaquat Ali Khan was the them prime minister of Pakistan.
He said his government is saying today what Nehru had said decades ago.
Modi said the government was fulfilling the wishes of the founding fathers.
While referring to the Citizenship Amendment Act, President Ram Nath Kovind in his address to the joint sitting of Parliament on January 31 had said that Mahatma Gandhi was in favour of bringing back religious minorities facing persecution in Pakistan.
Participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks, Shashi Tharoor of the Congress had said Mahatma Gandhi was only partially quoted by the government to defend the amended law.
The prime minister went on to cite examples of Bhupendra Kumar Dutta and Jogendra Nath Mandal, two freedom fighters who decided to stay back in Pakistan after the Partition.
Modi said Dutta told the constituent assembly of Pakistan that Hindus were being targeted in that country.
Dutta later migrated to India before his death.
Mandal was the first law minister of Pakistan and he too flagged systematic ethnic targeting of religious minorities in Pakistan, Modi said.
The prime minister said that he in his youth had touched the feet of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (popularly called Frontier Gandhi in Pakistan) and named other greats such as Ashfaqullah Khan, Begum Hazrat Mahal and A P J Abdul Kalam to assert that they were all Indians.