IN­TER­VIEW: KIREN RI­JIJU

India Today - - UPFRONT - KAUSHIK DEKA

The is­sue of the Na­tional Reg­is­ter of Cit­i­zens (NRC) in As­sam has sharply po­larised po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Union min­is­ter of state for home af­fairs KIREN RI­JIJU ex­plains the gov­ern­ment’s stand on NRC and other is­sues such as Ro­hingya asy­lum, anti-lynch­ing law, the low rate of con­vic­tion in rape cases, Hin­dutva ter­ror­ism and a pos­si­ble RSS in­vite to Rahul Gandhi. Ex­cerpts from an in­ter­view with

Q. Will the NRC be im­ple­mented across In­dia, as de­manded by some po­lit­i­cal groups and lead­ers?

We have not reached a stage where we can talk about a na­tion­wide NRC. Let us first com­plete it in As­sam.

Q. What about those left out of the fi­nal NRC? In­dia doesn’t have a pol­icy for state­less peo­ple.

Once the fi­nal NRC is out, those ex­cluded will no longer en­joy the priv­i­leges bona fide In­dian cit­i­zens are en­ti­tled to. These peo­ple can take le­gal re­course from the for­eign­ers’ tri­bunal, the high court and Supreme Court. If courts de­clare an in­di­vid­ual an In­dian cit­i­zen, he or she will get back their rights.

Q. The per­cep­tion is that the BJP wants to grant cit­i­zen­ship to the Hindu il­le­gal im­mi­grants from Bangladesh. Isn’t that the mo­tive be­hind the Cit­i­zen­ship Amend­ment Bill, 2016? I can­not com­ment as the bill is ly­ing with Par­lia­ment.

Q. But in the Ra­jya Sabha you said peo­ple from six re­li­gious groups—Hindu, Sikh, Bud­dhist, Parsi, Jain and Chris­tian—who faced

re­li­gious per­se­cu­tion and came to In­dia be­fore De­cem­ber 31, 2014, are not il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

It isn’t like that. Their stay is not il­le­gal. But they don’t be­come In­dian cit­i­zens. They must prove re­li­gious per­se­cu­tion to make their stay le­gal.

Q. Why does the same pol­icy not ap­ply to the Mus­lim Ro­hingya?

We have pro­vided refugee sta­tus to cer­tain groups as these peo­ple have been force­fully dis­lodged from their home­land or faced re­li­gious per­se­cu­tion in their na­tive coun­try. The Ro­hingya don’t fall un­der this cat­e­gory. They have en­tered In­dia il­le­gally.

Q. Will there be a strict law against lynch­ing?

A four-mem­ber com­mit­tee will ex­am­ine whether a sep­a­rate law is needed to curb lynch­ing and mob vi­o­lence. We have sent guide­lines to the states to co­or­di­nate with so­cial me­dia providers to stop ru­mours and fake news.

Q. The RSS is likely to in­vite Rahul Gandhi. What’s your mes­sage to him?

The Congress is the most in­tol­er­ant party. It doesn’t even want the RSS to ex­ist. Even if Rahul ac­cepts the RSS in­vite, he doesn’t have it in him to un­der­stand the or­gan­i­sa­tion be­cause he is su­per­fi­cial in his ap­proach to life and val­ues.

Q. Rahul says Chi­nese sol­diers are still in Dok­lam. Chi­nese sol­diers have al­ways been there. The is­sue was about road con­struc­tion, not about troop pres­ence. Rahul Gandhi talks non­sense. Q. The Ma­ha­rash­tra po­lice ar­rested mem­bers of a Hin­dutva out­fit in con­nec­tion with a ter­ror plot. Is Hin­dutva ter­ror on the rise? This is just po­lit­i­cal ter­mi­nol­ogy. It’s Congress pol­i­tics, which is all about the Mus­lim vote bank. They in­vented this term. The gov­ern­ment will take ac­tion against any­one in­volved in acts of ter­ror.

Q. PM Naren­dra Modi talks about zero tol­er­ance for rape. Why is the con­vic­tion rate in rape cases so low? We have made strong laws. Now our fo­cus is on im­ple­men­ta­tion. In the mon­soon ses­sion, we passed the Crim­i­nal Law (Amend­ment) Bill, 2018. It pro­vides for time-bound in­ves­ti­ga­tions and fast-track courts. How­ever, laws alone are not enough, so­ci­ety has to change as well.

“Hin­dutva ter­ror is just po­lit­i­cal ter­mi­nol­ogy. The Congress in­vented this term”

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