Mounting a strong defence of the Citizenship Amendment Act, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday referred to Jawaharlal Nehru's letter to Assam's first chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi asking him to distinguish between Hindu refugees and Muslim migrants from Pakistan.
Replying to a debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address in Lok Sabha, Modi said Nehru in a letter to Bordoloi, the then Assam chief minister, in 1950 had asked him to distinguish between Hindu refugees and Muslim migrants from Pakistan and said the law should be amended to grant citizenship to the refugees if required.
"This was not only Mahatma Gandhi's but also Nehru's sentiments. Was Pandit Nehru communal? Did he discriminate between Hindus and Muslims? Did he want Hindu Rashtra?" Modi asked, asserting that several reports, including those of parliamentary panels, had recommended a law like the CAA.
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 Congress is having problems when his government is taking decisions to fulfil wishes of the country's "founding fathers".
Assam and several other states have been witnessing protests against the CAA.
Opposition parties are against the new law.
Bordoloi, who was credited with saving Assam from merging with Pakistan during the Partition, was conferred the Bharat Ratna in 1999 posthumously.
Bordoloi's bold and competent leadership was instrumental in saving Assam from merging with Pakistan under the Cabinet Mission's plan, a concept created by the British in collaboration with the Muslim League.
Bangladesh was created in 1971 and before that the territory was part of Pakistan.
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 Congress had said Mahatma Gandhi was only partially quoted by the government to defend the amended law.