Surat: Union Minister of State for MSME Pratap Chandra Sarangi on Saturday said the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was a way to "atone for the sin of Partition" committed by the Congress.
He said the Act, which seeks to give citizenship to non-Muslim minorities when entered India before December 31, 2014 from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, should have been passed 70 years ago.
"CAA should have happened 70 years ago. CAA is a way to atone for sin committed by our forefathers, a select few leaders... It is atonement for the sin of Partition. And we should congratulate PM Narendra Modi for this. The Congress committed the sin, and we are atoning," Sarangi said.
He also said Partition, which took place on a communal basis, was "not unavoidable", and questioned then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for entering into an agreement with people who propounded the two-nation theory.
"The Partition did not take place on any political, economical, geographical, or historical basis. It was done on a communal basis. We never said we cannot live with Muslims.
We lived with them for thousands of years," Sarangi said.
"But who compelled us enter into an agreement with the people who propounded the two-nation theory? Partition was not unavoidable. Who compelled Nehru? The country is nobody's paternal property. Nobody had the right to divide it," he added.
Sarangi said the religious division of the country caused crores of Hindus to stay back in Pakistan, and later in Bangladesh when Pakistan itself was broken up (in 1971), but the numbers of Hindus reduced due to "massive religious conversion, rapes, murders, atrocities, and forcible expulsions".
"Mahatma Gandhi had said it is the government's moral responsibility to provide citizenship and jobs to those who fled to India because of religious persecution. Our government passed CAA to give rights to minorities from those countries," he claimed.
Sarangli accused the Congress of spreading disinformation about the CAA and causing unrest in the country.
"Those who set the country on fire are not patriots.
Those who do not accept India's freedom, unity, Vande Mataram, have no right to stay in the country. They should go wherever they can," he added.
Speaking on the economic downturn, Sarangi said the country was going through the "darkest time before dawn".
"Dawn is not far away. New developments are being initiated across the country. From MSME, animal husbandry to agriculture, new life has been infused in all departments.
Even on the world level, there is infinite possibility of growth in trade and commerce, and this is going to happen. Our products are being marketed across the world," he claimed.
Sarangi said the global slowdown has impacted India but "despite that, our basic structure has not been destroyed and we will move ahead and achieve this on our own might."