New Delhi [India], Dec 21 (ANI): More than 1,000 academicians, intellectuals and research scholars from across the country have decided to back Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).They have also called for peace and cautioned people against fear-mongering leading to violence. They said they were issuing the statement in a personal capacity. The support of academicians, who include professors, deans and vice-chancellors, has come at a time protests have been held in different parts of the country with students in some campuses also opposing the new law. Some of the protests have been marked by violence and the opposition has accused the government of "repression".The statement says that CAA fulfills the long-standing demand of providing refuge to persecuted religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan."Ever since the failure of the Liaquat-Nehru pact of 1950, various leaders and political parties like the Congress, CPI (M), etc., cutting across the ideological spectrum, have demanded the grant of citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh, who mostly belong to the Dalit castes. We congratulate the Indian parliament and government for standing up for forgotten minorities and upholding the civilizational ethos of India - providing a haven to those fleeing religious persecution," said the statement."We believe that CAA is in perfect sync with the secular Constitution of India as it does not prevent any person of any religion from any country, seeking Indian citizenship. Nor does it change the criteria of citizenship in any way," they said.The statement said that it provides special expedited redress, under special circumstances, for minorities fleeing religious persecution from three specific countries - Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.It said the new law does not in any way prevent Ahmadis, Hazaras, Baloch or any other denominations and ethnicities, from these same three countries, seeking citizenship through regular processes," it added.Among those who took initiative to garner support for the CAA are Delhi University Professor Prakash Singh and Assistant Professors Swadesh Singh and Abhinav Prakash.Speaking to ANI, Swadesh Singh said violent protests were against the Constitution and the Act has been duly passed by the Parliament."You can debate, discuss and express concerns which can be looked into and worked upon if they are genuine but violence is unacceptable. We have a history of accepting persecuted minorities and accommodating them," Singh said.Abhinav Prakash said a fake intellectual argument has been created against CAA."There was a false impression being created that academia is against CAA. We thought of bringing out a statement and floated the idea. But we were surprised by the tremendous support from academia. Names were still coming in when we decided to finalise the list," he said.The academicians also took note of protests that have been held in many cities and expressed anguish."That an atmosphere of fear and paranoia is being created in the country through deliberate obfuscation and fear-mongering leading to violence in several parts of the country. We appeal to every section of society to exercise restraint and refuse to fall into the trap of propaganda, communalism and anarchism, " they said.Prakash Singh, who teaches in Delhi University's Department of Political Science said, "Leftists, pseudo-secular intellectuals and Islamist forces" were behind the protest against CAA."It is a good initiative by the Modi government," he said.Those who have extended support to CAA include Sunaina Singh, VC, Nalanda International University; Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta; Sushma Yadav, VC, BPS University, Sonipat; Pramod Kumar, Registrar, JNU; Gopal Reddy of Osmania University, Anand Ranganathan, Professor, JNU; Adya Prasad Pandey, VC, Manipur Central University and Rajneesh Shukla, Mahatama Gandhi International Hindi University, Vardha.Rajneesh Shukla told ANI that it was the moral responsibility of India to protect persecuted minorities from Pakistan."In 1947, after the emergence of Pakistan as an Islamic State. it was India's moral responsibility to safeguard minorities and CAA is pro-minorities, " he said.Pramod Kumar said he is endorsing CAA as parliament has endorsed it and made it an Act while Adya Prasad Pandey said the Act is discriminatory.Sushma Yadav said that each country has certain rules about citizenship. "We too have those rules. We have amended it to give rights to minorities persecuted on a religious basis," she said.Earlier this month, over 1,000 scientists and scholars had signed a petition opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act. (ANI)

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