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Chhattisgarh Cabinet okays anti-CAA resolution

PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2020 11:20 PM IST

Raipur: The Cabinet in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh on Thursday approved a resolution that will be passed during the state assembly’s budget session in March against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, which has triggered protests across the country, according to a press release issued by the state government.

Four states have so far passed assembly resolutions against the CAA, which was cleared last month to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims, who have entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh before 2015.

Opponents of the law insist it is discriminatory and unconstitutional as it leaves out the Muslims and links faith to citizenship in a secular country. They say it could result in the expulsion or detentions of the Muslims unable to provide the documentation if the law is seen in the context of the proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens. A process to identify undocumented immigrants in Assam led to the exclusion of around 2 million people from the NRC last year. The government has since clarified there are no immediate plans for a pan-India NRC.

The Chhattisgarh resolution asks the Centre to repeal the CAA while insisting it is “against the spirit” of the Constitution.

After the Cabinet’s approval of the resolution, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pointed out the CAA violates the Constitution’s basic tenets.

“...the current amendment to this Act is illegal... migrants seem to be differentiated [on the basis of religion]... it also strongly goes against the spirit of Article 14 [equality before the law] enshrined in the Indian Constitution. provision has been made in this Act in relation with migrants coming from India’s neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan...,” Baghel wrote in his letter to Modi. HT has seen as a copy of the letter.

Baghel cited peaceful protests in Chhattisgarh against the CAA and added people from different sections of the society have participated in them. He underlined all religions are equal before the Constitution and added the CAA seems to violate the basic essence of the secular Constitution. Baghel cited the Constitution’s Article 14 and underlined it guarantees equal rights to people from all sections of the society.

“To protect the guarantee of rights and equality under the law, it is necessary to ensure that no law is made contrary to this basic spirit enshrined in our Constitution,” he said in his letter. He asked the Centre to protect the spirit of the Constitution.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Gauri Shankar Srivas, said Baghel would be wasting time of the by following other Congress ruled states and passing the resolution. “Secondly, Congress should answer whether they are in favour of welcoming the Hindus to Chhattisgarh or not ?” said Srivas.

Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal on Monday became the fourth state to pass an assembly resolution against the CAA. The resolution called the CAA anti-constitutional while seeking its immediate revocation. Earlier on Saturday, Congress-ruled Rajasthan passed an assembly resolution saying the CAA should be scrapped. Left-ruled Kerala and Congress-ruled Punjab passed similar resolutions on December 31 and January 17.

Kerala became the first state to challenge the CAA in January after it moved the Supreme Court under Article 131 of the Constitution, which empowers the top court to hear disputes between the Centre and states.

The Centre has maintained the CAA does not come under the purview of state governments and there was no question of a repealing it no matter how many people opposed or protested against the law.

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