West Bengal becomes fourth state to pass resolution against CAA, demands its repeal
Kolkata/Mangaluru, Jan. 27 (PTI): West Bengal on Monday passed a resolution against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) becoming the fourth non-BJP state to take the legislative route and be on a collision course with the NDA government which asserted every state should implement the Act as it was a central law.
The Assembly in Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal approved the resolution brought by the state government demanding that the CAA be repealed forthwith, as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it is “against the Constitution and humanity”. The resolution was backed by both the opposition parties Congress and the CPI(M)-led Left Front but opposed by the BJP.
Kerala, Rajasthan and Punjab in the recent weeks passed resolutions against the new citizenship law that has triggered nationwide protests and a vicious political slugfest.
Unfazed by more and more states adopting a formal resolution against the CAA and refusing to implement it, Defence minister Rajnath Singh said it is not a law to hurt the sentiments of any religion but to give relief to victims of religious persecution in neighbouring countries.
“The CAA is a central law and everyone(state) should implement it,” he told a rally in Mangaluru which recently witnessed violent anti-CAA protests in which two people lost their lives.
Accusing the Congress of misleading people on the issue, he said the party should not forget its duty towards the nation just because it is in the opposition.
Mahatma Gandhi had told Jawaharlal Nehru to give citizenship to minorities like Hindus and Sikhs if they come to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled that vision by bringing in the law, Singh added.
Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha termed the passing of anti-CAA resolutions by non-BJP states a constitutional crisis, saying this can’t be ignored.
He stressed there was no need to bring the legislation as it was “anti-democratic” and “divided people on the basis of religion”.
“There is a constitutional crisis. You cannot ignore state governments. You have to take them into confidence,” Sinha told reporters in Lucknow when asked about resolutions passed by states against the CAA.
Proofs of religious beliefs to be required for applying citizenship under CAA
Non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will have to provide proofs of their religious beliefs while applying for Indian citizenship under the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA), officials said on Monday.
The applicants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain or Parsi faiths will also have to furnish documents to prove that they entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
Those who will seek Indian citizenship under the CAA will have to provide proofs of their religious beliefs and this will be mentioned in the rules to be issued under the CAA, a government official said.
According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants and will be given Indian citizenship.
The central government is also likely to give a relatively smaller window of just three months to those who want to apply for Indian citizenship in Assam under the CAA, another official said.
Some Assam-specific provisions are expected to be incorporated in the rules to be issued for the implementation of the CAA.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had made a request about a fortnight ago to keep a limited period window for applying under the CAA and also incorporate some other Assam-specific provisions in the CAA rules.
The move comes in view of continuing protests against the CAA in Assam that have been going on since the legislation was passed by Parliament in December last year.
There has been a growing feeling among the indigenous people of Assam that the newly enacted legislation will hurt their interests politically, culturally as well as socially.
The Assam Accord provides for detection and deportation of all illegal immigrants who have entered the country after 1971 and are living in the state, irrespective of their religion. The protesters in Assam say that the CAA violates the provisions of the Assam Accord.