Home minister Amit Shah says opposition parties are lying on the citizenship law when they claim it will take away citizenship of the minorities in India during a public rally in Odisha on Friday.
Shah's attack on the opposition over the citizenship law comes amid a rising death toll in the three-day-long communal violence in Delhi and a petition in court putting the focus on the role played by hate speeches delivered by politicians in the run-up to the riots.
"I want to tell the people of the country that the opposition is misleading over citizenship law, provoking people and instigating riots," Shah said in the rally.
He named Congress and the Trinamool Congress among the opposition parties that he said were peddling "lies" over the act.
"Congress, Mamata didi, SP, BSP, all of them are opposing the citizenship law. They say it will take away citizenship of minorities. Why do you lie so much," he said.
Shah repeated the clarification often issued by the government to dispel doubts over the controversial legislation and said it was only meant to grant citizenship and not take it away as alleged.
"I want to reiterate that citizenship law is not going to take away citizenship of even one Muslim, even single member of the minority. Citizenship law is a law to grant citizenship and not for snatching it away," Shah said.
Shah's reiteration follows an increasing international scrutiny of the law as demonstrated by the UK government which told the British Parliament that it believes the citizenship law to be divisive and that it had raised concerns over the law's impact with Indian authorities. The issue was discussed in the House of Lords on Tuesday evening.
He defended the amended law and said the persecuted minorities who wish to escape religious conversions, unemployment, fear and injustice in the neighbouring countries, deserved to be given Indian citizenship.
"They are our brothers and sisters, they should be given citizenship," he said.
The amended citizenship act was a fulfillment of promises made by Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Maulana Azad, he added.