Toeing the BJP’s official line, Tamil star Rajinikanth said on Wednesday that Muslims have nothing to fear from the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Survey (NPC).
Talking to reporters outside his Poes Garden residence, Rajini accused the opposition of having whipped up phobia among the Muslims that they would be deprived of their citizenship and advised students not fall prey to politicians who were pursuing their own “selfish agenda”. Without responding to the query as to whether grant of citizenship on the basis of religion was constitutional, Rajini said in an apparent reference to repeated assurance given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that no Indian Muslim would be lost his citizenship.
Explaining, he said:”At the time of partition, many Muslims opted to stay in India by making it their mother land. If they are affected ien anyway, I will be the first person to raise my voice for them”.
He further said the Centre had not taken any decision on enforcing the NRC. Only when the draft notification was issued would the people know what the Government proposed to do, he said.
Obvioiusly he was unaware that NRC was first implemented in Assam and other north-eastern States on direction from Supreme Court and Muslims living for generations were declared illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Therefore, misgivings arose after the Government soudht to extend it to whole country .
As for NPR, Rajini said it was a population survey which “is vital and essential” to know who were foreign migrants in the country. The Congress-led UPA Government did the first NPR in 2010. Another survey was done in 2010 and the next was due in 2022 it had to be done. “ I don’t know what is their(detractors) problem with that”.
Asked about Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in the State, he said they should be given dual citizenship.( The Centre told Parliament today that there is no provision for grant of dual citizenship to them)
Replying to another question, he said he was yet to get summons from Aruna Jagadeesan commission going into the Thoothukudi incidents to depose before it on Feb 25.
He said he would appear before the commission and explain the basis for his statement that the agitation against Sterlite plant in the town turned violent because of infiltration by anti-social elements.
A reporter cited reports that the income tax department had rejected his explanation in a particular assessment year that hand loans given to friends had turned bad debts. The department held that he had no licence to do money lending business and it imposed a fine, the report said. Reacting to this, Rajini said” I am an honest, prompt tax payer and I have not done anything illegal.”