Pinarayi Vijayan, Amarinder Singh build anti-CAA momentum, Amit Shah says won’t budge
Union home minister Amit Shah said on Friday the government will not change its stance over the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, even as Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to 11 chief ministers to follow his state in passing a resolution against the new law.
Protests have continued across the country against the legislation since Parliament approved it on December 11. CAA proposes to ease citizenship for minorities from three Muslim-majority countries — Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Several opposition parties have alleged that the law is divisive and against India’s secular values because it differentiates among people on the basis of religion.
“Let all these parties come together. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not going back an inch on CAA,” Shah said at a gathering in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur. “The law is not against the minorities,” he said.
“There is no provision in the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to take anyone’s citizenship away but it is a law to grant citizenship,” the BJP president added.
The remarks came on a day the Kerala CM tried to rally support of 11 non-BJP ruled states against the law. He has written to Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar, Jagan Mohan Reddy, Hemant Soren, Uddhav Thackeray, Kamal Nath, Amarinder Singh, V Narayanaswamy, Ashok Gehlot and Naveen Patnaik.
“The need of the hour is unity among all Indians who wish to protect and preserve our cherished values of democracy and secularism. We are sure our unity in diversity, which has stood the test of times, will ultimately emerge stronger. Kerala has decided to address the apprehensions about NRC [National Register of Citizens] and that preparation of NPR [National Population Register] will lead to NRC by staying all activities relating to NPR in the state,” Vijayan said.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh came out in support of the Kerala assembly resolution, demanding the scrapping of CAA. He said it was the voice of the people which was against the legislation and the Centre should pay heed to it. “MLAs represent the voice of the people at large,” Singh said in an open letter to Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
A protest was held against CAA and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Bengaluru on Friday. Protests were also held in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, while addressing an anti-CAA rally in Siliguri, said it was a shame that people were being asked to prove their nationality, even after 70 years of Independence.
The BJP, meanwhile, held rallies in support of the legislation, saying it was in the process of reaching out to 30 million families to spread awareness on the issue.
(With inputs from agencies)