Congress leader and renowned lawyer, Kapil Sibal, on January 21 called out the 9 “lies” of the BJP government in this press conference, mainly related to CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), NRC (National Register of Citizens) and NPR (National Population Register).
This came days after newspapers had reportedly mis-reported an hour long speech made by Sibal in Kerala.
The manner of reporting his speech made on January 18 had generated confusion on his stand on CAA. He said that there is no way a state can deny the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) when it is already passed by Parliament, and doing so would be “unconstitutional”. He conducted a press conference at Congress Party’s Headquarters to clear his stand.
Lie No. 1
CAA is not discriminatory
While calling out BJP’s lie on this point, he explained how citizenship was intended by the drafting committee of the Constitution. Lest we forget, the constitution does not have religion as a criterion for granting citizenship. Article 5 of the Indian Constitution states as follows:
Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution At the commencement of this Constitution every person who has his domicile in the territory of India and
(a) who was born in the territory of India; or
(b) either of whose parents was born in the territory of India; or
(c) who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than five years preceding such commencement, shall be a citizen of India
Article 6 of the Constitution also made provision for people who migrated to India from Pakistan, which also does not differentiate on basis of religion. Furthermore when the Citizenship Act, 1955 was enacted, it did not provide for citizenship on basis of religion either.
He kept reiterating that until Modi government, no government has ever given citizenship to people on basis of their religion. He said this is the first time India is giving citizenship basis people’s religion. Hence, the claim of Amit Shah about CAA not being discriminatory is blatantly false.
Lie No. 2
CAA is not connected with NRC
He said that in April 2019, Amit Shah himself said that first there will be CAA and then there will be NRC. Again, on December 9, 2019 he said in Lok Sabha there will be nation-wide NRC after passing CAA. Hence, saying that CAA is not connected with NRC is another lie
Lie No. 3
Modi claimed in a rally held on December 22 that since BJP came to power there has been no discussion on NRC
Sibal said that in June 2019 during the Joint Session of parliament, in the Presidential address it was mentioned, “Government has decided to implement NRC on priority basis in areas affected by infiltration.” Sibal questioned how can such statements be made without having any discussion?
He also pointed out that in many answers to parliamentary questions, the Home Ministry has said that NRC will be implemented.
Lie no. 4
NRC process is not legalised. NRC has not been notified.
The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue Of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 has several provisions with regards to National Register of Indian Citizens (NRC) right from its definition in Clause 2(k) as a “register containing details of Indian Citizens living in India and outside India”. Under section 3 there are details on the entire process of NRC right from the information to be sought from people to the establishment of the authority that will conduct NRC which is the Registrar General of Citizen Registration.
These set of rules were notified in 2003 when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was in power. “It is already in the law,” Sibal said. He further said, “It is already notified. How can they say that it is not!”
Lie no. 5
NRC yet to start
Sibal quoted Clause 4 of the Citizenship Rules, 2003 which says, “The Central Government may, by an order issued in this regard, decide a date by which the Population Register shall be prepared by collecting information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of Local Registrar. He also quoted Kiren Rijiju who said in July 2019 in Parliament, “NRC based on collection of data under the scheme of the National Population Register. House to house enumeration to start from April 1 2020 and to end on September 30, 2020.” This was notified through a gazette notification on July 31, 2019.
Lie no. 6
NPR has nothing to do with NRC
While calling out this lie of the BJP, Sibal quoted the Annual Report of the Ministry of Home Affairs of 2018-19 which says, “NPR is the first step towards the creation of NRC.”
He also said, “there can be no NRC without NPR.” He then explained the process as given in the Citizenship Rules, 2003. He also said that once it is decided that a person a citizen after following the whole process, where a person will be asked to satisfy the authority that he/she is a citizen, if one of deemed to be a citizen, then their name will come in the NRC.
Lie no. 7
No Indian has anything to fear
He gave example of family members of Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, the fifth President of India, who were left out of the final draft of the Assam NRC. As also retired army officer Sanaullah Khan who was kept in one of the detention camps in Assam for having been declared a foreigner. He said, “if their names are missing then where will a poor man go if his name is missing from the NRC?”.
He further questioned how will the poor provide any documents for proving his citizenship. He also called out the “fraud in Uttar Pradesh” where poor Hindu families are being presented as refugees and shown that they have been given citizenship when the “rules under CAA have not even been formulated yet.”
He said, “the poor in India have everything to fear… Even the rich don’t have papers. My brothers and sister s were born in Pakistan, where will they get papers?” he asked as he moved on to the next point.
Lie no. 8
Modi says no detention centres
There are 6 detention centres already in Assam which house 988 inmates. Also, the Centre, January 2019, sent general consolidated instruction for construction of detention centres. Sites have been allotted even in Karnataka and Maharashtra, he said.
Lie no. 9
No force used against demonstration
“20 deaths have taken place in Uttar Pradesh alone. People’s homes, cars, shops were vandalised, people were stripped down and beaten up and they are saying no force used!” said Sibal.
He also quoted Swami Vivekanand who said in 1893, “I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth.”
Open call to BJP
Amit Shah challenged Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee to debate with him on CAA. Kapil Sibal in turn challenged Amit Shah as well as PM Narendra Modi to debate with him at any given place and time. He said that all the lies of BJP then will be out for everyone to see.
Just as our growth is a drag on global economy (as said by IMF), the actions of our PM and Home Minister are a drag on our democracy. That is the reality of India.”
He also pointed out to unemployment in India as of 2019 is 63%, this being unemployment among graduates. He mocked the government by saying PhD holders are looking for peon level jobs. He also reminded that in Assam 1,600 crore was spent on NRC.
His complete address to the press may be viewed here:
— Congress Live (@INCIndiaLive) January 21, 2020